Big Brand NFTs: Why they don’t work (yet)

10 Jul 2022

I love a Corvette. I still have the first Stingray my dad bought me back in 1977. That one right next to the Capn’ America branded Firebird.

Growing up, I’d imagine zooming around in that sexy stingray and those curves made it stand out from the other ‘matchbox’ cars I owned; the Mercs, the Ferraris… Corvette as a Brand had, and still has my loyalty.

Imagine then my surprise when Chevvy had everything that’s right for an NFT to succeed (No crappy generative art ‘mints/drops’, no ‘1000 copies only’)…and yet, there were no takers at their recent NFT auction. Not a single bid.

The NFT came with a real life car! There was even an exclusive paint job; “Minted Green” thrown in, that Chevvy promised would not be used in any production model of the 2023 Corvette Z06. I have a few reasons I believe Big Brand NFTs are not ready for prime time yet…

NFTs Sold exclusively in Crypto, show CEO Greed: 

Let’s be real; the only reason to sell an NFT exclusively in cryptocurrency — shows that the seller is a speculator or has been advised by bad actors to cash in on the speculative nature of Crypto Currency. In the case of the Corvette NFT, bidding started at 206 ETH. That put the starting price of the NFT (and car) at $238,960. While being a high price, it also ruled out regular bidders who do not want to touch or be involved with Crypto Currency.

NTF Utility — What does it mean for BRAND NFTs? 

This is where I feel Chevvy actually got it right compared to many NFT projects that find it fashionable to stick the “Utility NFT” label to overcome the stigma associated with computer-generative art and “doodles” sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Corvette NFT actually comes with an exclusive real life functional car!

The argument I’d put forward to the brand manager then is: Why an NFT auction? (aside from the speculate on crypto / ride the NFT hype-train) Specifically, what purpose does holding an auction for a limited edition car as an NFT, serve?

Can the NFT be used in a racing game in the many “Cryptoverses” currently masquerading as the Metaverse. Some of these very Cryptoverses being designed by Man-babies?
If they did have a way for the winner of the auction to ‘utilize’ the NFT in a meaningful way, that NFT would:

  • Need to be reduced to a pixelated version of itself in today’s Minecrafty Cryptoverses.

  • To the best of my knowledge, none of the popular cryptoverses at the time of this writing –July 4th 2022, allow a user to have their avatar sitting in a (3D) car when navigating.

  • Need deals put in place by the BRAND management team of the Chevvy NFT project with different metaverses — to seamlessly recognize, import and give meaningful life to the NFT, so the winner could do more than adorn the walls of NFT galleries these cryptoverses actually are.

Did the Chevvy NFT team even think of having the NFT as a 3D model of the Corvette? — You’d think the winner of the auction might also want to show off the Digital twin of their real life acquisition in the Metaverse?

The original artwork of the Corvette NFT is below. Here’s the original NFT listing on SuperRare

This same reasoning applies to many of the Designer Brands out there, mindlessly hopping onto the NFT bandwagon in the hopes of cashing in quick:

  • Fashion NFTs.

  • Sneakers / Wearables.

These Brands and brand managers need to introspect and ask themselves — Why are we “tokenizing” our Brand? Is it because we’ve moved from building brand loyalty to primarily speculating on profits we’ll generate after the sale, if any — given the current crypto bloodbath as of July 2022.

Can our customers and clients do more meaningful things to achieve top-of-mind Brand recall via Digital Twins of our products Today, perhaps utilizing immersive tech like Snapchat, Instagram AR, Tiktok… Facebook and the many non-blockchain hyped solutions?

It hasn’t gone unnoticed that indeed, Instagram is flirting with NFTs. It’s up to brand managers to then lay the foundations for users to be able to ‘utilize’ these Brand NFTs in a meaningful way by partnering with these platforms prior to launch — rather than having the winning bidder later resort to digitally hanging their achievement on NFT gallery walls. That’s no way to increase Brand value.

𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑴𝒆𝒕𝒂𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒔𝒆 𝒘𝒐𝒏’𝒕 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒂 𝒃𝒊𝒈-𝒃𝒂𝒏𝒈 𝒎𝒐𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕, 𝒊𝒕’𝒍𝒍 𝒆𝒗𝒐𝒍𝒗𝒆 𝒃𝒚 𝒆𝒙𝒆𝒓𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒄𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒓𝒊𝒑𝒆𝒕𝒂𝒍 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒈𝒓𝒂𝒗𝒊𝒕𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏𝒂𝒍 𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒄𝒆 𝒐𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒎𝒂𝒏𝒚 𝒅𝒊𝒔𝒑𝒂𝒓𝒂𝒕𝒆 𝒃𝒖𝒕 𝒔𝒐𝒍𝒊𝒅 𝒎𝒊𝒏𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒔𝒆𝒔— 𝓒.𝓓𝓮𝓢𝓸𝓾𝔃𝓪

( Corvette in the GTA "miniverse?" : view on youtube )

The CorvetteVerse:

Meanwhile, as the Crypto-market crashes, would it mean I could buy the Corvette NFT on the dip and realize my childhood dream of being behind the wheel of a customized Corvette? Truth be told, I already can, as the video above shows — No NFT needed.

The way Chevvy could have done it right, would have been to create it’s own Corvette-verse, complete with real world car-physics that owners of exclusive Corvette 3D NFTs (let’s just call digital assets) could cruise or race in. Or, as a brainchild of savvy marketing partnerships, cut a deal with cult favorites such as Grand Theft Auto, which is already a Metaverse without being positioned as one.

As an option, every Chevvy or Corvette showroom could be re-christened a “Portal” to the Corvette-verse, driving people to enter the showroom, get into a corvette and be ‘seen’ in the Corvette-verse. And, because they made the effort of walking up to the brick n mortar “portal” they get haptic feedback and leather seat smell, gratis.

That’s how you build a brand — and seamlessly segue from living IRL, and stepping into the Metaverse.

I sell ideas — Meaningless NFT projects is what I wouldn’t sell to any Brand.

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Alex Rose
Great article! Completely agree, NFTs I for the sake of having an NFT will never work in the long term. Thanks for sharing.