These Brands are Launching NFTs but Don’t Want People to Know



Brands are using NFTs for their unique experiences, and better results but refusing to mention

NFTs have a bad reputation among those unfamiliar with the world of Web3. People claim that sales are declining, that scams abound, that cryptocurrency mining is destroying the environment and that people are fools to pay money for digital art and other items.


So goes the conventional story

To be fair, there is some merit to people’s concerns about NFTs. The issue is that much nuance is lost in the backdrop of distorted sensationalism that pervades much of NFT media coverage. As a result, it’s not surprising that people are still wary of anything blockchain-related, whether it’s a cryptocurrency or NFTs themselves. This puts brands on the verge of entering the Web3 space in an unenviable position. On the one hand, NFTs are undeniably valuable and potentially profitable tools. When you combine the sheer functionality of potential use cases with their potential earning power, you have a technology that businesses cannot afford to ignore. Web3 will change the way most industries operate sooner or later, and businesses are aware of this. On the other hand, because of the lack of knowledge surrounding blockchain technology, adopting these tools is a risk for a brand. NFTs are indispensable to the evolution of the internet, as nuclear energy is to the fight against climate change. The answer to this question is being played out in real-time, with the primary examples appearing on Reddit.


Why are brands avoiding the term ‘NFT’

On July 7, 2022, Reddit announced the introduction of Collectible Avatars, which are limited-edition avatars created in collaboration with the company and will confer unique Reddit platform benefits to their owners. The Polygon blockchain will support these new avatars, which will be available for purchase at fixed prices in traditional currency (not crypto), permitting owners to use the art both on and off the platform.

Seeing avatars take off got us thinking about what would happen if we gave Reddit artists license to make any style of avatar they wanted. The company speculated in its announcement that if we could assist these artists in showcasing their work to the entire Reddit community and making it simple for them to earn money for their work, that is exactly what our new Collectible Avatars storefront does. To summarize, Reddit is working with independent artists to create unique, blockchain-backed digital avatars that will be available for purchase and will grant owners specific utility on the Reddit platform, as well as something akin to a CC0 license in terms of intellectual property usage.

If this procedure sounds like an accurate description of what NFTs are and do, it is. However, Reddit would prefer that you refrain from using that term. Not only because the phrase “NFT” does not appear once in their announcement. Reddit published an NFT “playbook” in June, which reviewed some interesting facts about and pointers for its user base. According to the company, 70% of Reddit users are willing to buy an NFT from their favorite brand, but 35% believe brands could “ruin the future of NFTs.”

The significance of this is not lost on Reddit’s leadership, and the company is currently investigating its NFT options, developing a two-pronged strategy to minimize the bad optics surrounding the conventional frame of NFTs.

First, by eliminating the need to purchase cryptocurrency, Reddit makes the avatars more accessible and alleviates the fear of entering highly speculative crypto markets. Second, Reddit’s move helps to alleviate Reddit users’ subconscious prejudices against technology. Even if a user actively opposes the concepts of NFTs, they are more likely to interact with these avatars if they don’t come across the term very often or if Reddit explicitly and repeatedly states that they are not NFTs in the “traditional” sense.

This is the marketing strategy employed by Dapper Lab’s CEO Roham Gharegozlou for NBA Top Shot in 2020. In an interview with The Action Network, Gharegozlou stated that when marketing the project, he tried “not to talk about the blockchain part.” To be a Top Shot collector, he explained, all you need is “trading card knowledge and an idea of what collectors will value.” Similarly, Reddit users don’t need to know anything about NFTs; they just need to know how to have fun with avatars, a feature introduced by the company two years ago when it allowed users to generate and customize their own for display on the website. This is a natural next step for the company to take.