Will The NFT Revolutionize Marketing?

May 18, 2021 | blog | By Mike Sullivan
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If you’re a leader in a digital agency, creative agency, or branding agency in Dallas or beyond, I don’t have to tell you how quickly the marketing and advertising landscape is changing. Americans now spend nearly eight hours a day interacting with an ever-expanding menu of digital communication channels from emails and social media to streaming content and blogs. Even if the digital trend continues at its current pace, by 2025, digital media interaction will dwarf TV, radio, print and other traditional advertising channels combined by nearly two to one.

For digital agencies, creative agencies, and branding agencies, the digital frontier is the most exciting and most fascinating place to look for communication innovation. Ten years ago, who would have guessed that teenage influencers who otherwise weren’t accomplished musicians, actors, or athletes, would make millions of dollars a year by simply endorsing something on Tik Tok? Who would have guessed that by 2021, more than 55% of American households would have listened to at least one of the more than two million podcasts that now exist? Have you joined the conversations at Clubhouse? You will, but you’ll have to be invited first.

As one of the leading digital agencies in Dallas, and the country’s leading challenger brand agency, we’re not just intrigued by the new digital channels that emerge. We’re in a constant brainstorm for ways to use those channels to attract, inspire, and connect with both new and existing customers to drive our client’s business. Call it a highly functional fascination.

In the past year, one of the most intriguing narratives in the digital space has been the rise of NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens). While NFTs are not exactly a communications channel in and of themselves, using them to generate company buzz and connect with brand evangelists has offered up an intriguing bone for us underdogs to chew on.

NFTs may very well play a huge role in the future of marketing. And, as it turns out, the most exciting news in NFTs last week was happening at our sister company Luminous Sound Studios, right downstairs.

The unlikely intersection of Amelia Earhart, avant-garde vocals, and the future of music.

In the 1930s, with the possible exception of Charles Lindbergh, no American aviator was more popular or beloved than Amelia Earhart. In 1928, a mere eight years after U.S. women were given the right to vote, Earhart found global fame as the first female passenger to cross the Atlantic by plane. Four years later, she piloted the flight herself becoming the first woman to solo the Atlantic. For her accomplishment, she received the United States Distinguished Flying Cross and the enduring love of a nation. Earhart lectured. She wrote books. She fought for women’s rights. And when she set out to aerially circumnavigate the globe, the entire world was watching. Those same people’s hearts broke when on July 2, 1937 Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan disappeared somewhere near Howland Island in the central Pacific Ocean. Earhart’s disappearance is a mystery that’s been debated and unsolved for nearly 85 years.

As fate would have it, on the day Earhart went missing, a 15-year-old girl named Betty Klenck was settling in to spend the afternoon listening to her family’s short-wave radio in St. Petersburg, Florida. Armed with a notebook and pen to write down her favorite song lyrics, Betty began tuning the dial looking for music. But instead, she heard a woman’s voice, speaking English and clearly frantic. Most of what she heard were fragments, but she clearly heard the woman say, “this is Amelia Earhart … this is Amelia Earhart.” Betty wrote down everything she heard and it’s now believed that what she may have heard was Amelia Earhart’s final haunting distress call.

Over the years, Betty’s notebook became an acute fascination for historians, researchers, conspiracy theorists, and anyone interested in what happened to Amelia Earhart. Now, some 85 years after its creation, Betty’s account of Earhart’s call for help is poised to find the limelight again. It’s always been a heartbreaking piece of one of the world’s greatest unsolved mysteries. To artistic director Sam Brukhman, it was the perfect basis for a groundbreaking piece of choral music recounting the story.

Betty’s Notebook,” the piece Brukhman commissioned from composer Nicholas Reeves, is a dissonant, atonal piece that at times feels as much like Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings” as it does a choral piece. The 22-minute opus mixes multiple choral layers with audio of an older Betty Klenck recounting what she heard on her radio back in 1937.

The extraordinary piece was recorded by Dallas’s Verdigris ensemble at our sister company, Luminous Sound Studios, masterfully engineered by three-time Grammy-winning engineer Tre Nagella and promptly minted into a series of NFTs.

Billed as the “first programmable music NFT minted and sold on the blockchain,” “Betty’s Notebook” went to auction last week at Async Art with NFTs available for the fully mastered piece, as well as the four primary audio layers, or “stems.” Brukhman set the bidding at $150,000. In all, the NFTs for “Betty’s Notebook” were purchased for $375,000.

For music fans, NFTs represent exciting new chances to “own” exclusive music, tickets, videos, images, experiences, swag, and other commodities sold by their favorite artists. And since NFTs live forever on the blockchain, the authenticity and provenance of ownership is never in question should that fan choose to resell their NFT at a later date.

Where NFTs may revolutionize music is on the artist side of the ledger. Where digital streaming has virtually destroyed artist revenue paying them just fractions of a cent for each digital play of a song, NFTs give artists a new opportunity to monetize their music and the marketing channels corollary to it. Just imagine what the NFT for “Kind of Blue,” or The Beatles’ White Album, or “Led Zeppelin IV,” or “Exile on Main Street” would be worth today. Best of all, NFTs give artists the opportunity to write “smart contracts” into the digital code guaranteeing they receive a percentage of every sale and resell of that NFT in perpetuity. Imagine artists getting paid for their talents again.

So, what does an NFT of “Betty’s Notebook” have to do with the future of marketing? Possibly, quite a lot.

As both a digital agency specializing in helping challenger brands get ahead, and a creative agency in search of new ways to capture attention and market share, we’ve taken great interest in the rise of NFTs and what they represent. Every opportunity Non-Fungible Tokens offer an artist or a musician to monetize their brand is an opportunity open to the companies our branding agency works to build.

Just as a musical artist adds exclusivity and value to a song by creating an NFT for it, imagine what a restaurant brand could do with a promotion that rewarded lucky fans with exclusive NFTs good for FREE food, brand swag, or VIP experiences. Imagine what a carmaker like Ford or Chevy could do sprinkling 1,000 NFTs among the half a million SUVs they build, or Nike putting NFTs in 20 random boxes of Air Jordans for a meet and greet with Michael.

Are there ways for digital agencies, creative agencies, and branding agencies to use NFTs to monetize aspects of their clients’ brands in ways they haven’t before? Are there ways to use them to strengthen loyalty programs and the tether to real brand evangelists? Can NFTs help challenger brands fundamentally change the relationship they build with their customers? The answer to each of those questions is yes. The technology is only limited by what our imaginations can do with it.

Whether you’re a leader in a digital agency, creative agency, or branding agency in Dallas or anywhere else, study up on NFTs. Challenge your creative team to find new and intriguing ways to use the technology and then use those insights to energize the brands you steward. NFTs may indeed be the future of marketing. But only if our creativity makes it so.

MIKE SULLIVAN is president and CEO at  LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency and a top Dallas advertising agency for digital, social, mobile and user experience. For more about challenger branding, advertising and marketing, leadership, culture and other inspirations that will drive your success, visit our blog BARK! The Voice of the Underdog and catch up on all of our posts.

For more about LOOMIS, or to discuss how we can help your company succeed, CLICK HERE

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Mike Sullivan

President at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency

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