Senior Leaders from R&CPMK and Sister Agency Octagon Discuss How Brands Can Leverage New Digital Currency and Engage with Consumers

As part of a recent IPG DXTRA panel, a collection of R&CPMK and Octagon senior executives, along with pop culture icon and NFT creator Kevin Smith, joined a panel to discuss the exciting new digital currency trend NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) and how brands can potentially best leverage them to connect with consumers.

R&CPMK Executive Vice President of Insights & Analytics Michael Fein moderated an engaging conversation with Smith to kick off the session, learning about the award-winning director’s NFT ventures and success in the space.

Additionally, Fein led a discussion with VeVe COO and Co-Founder Dan Crothers, as well as a group of agency executives in a session titled “What is an NFT, and Why Should Your Brand Care.” Azher Ahmed, Executive Vice President and Head of Digital, Octagon, and Marian Koltai-Levine, President, Film, Content, and Entertainment Marketing, R&CPMK participated in the panel, providing keen insights on the current state of the NFT economy, benefits and challenges of the digital currency, and how brands should look to activate around the tokens and connect with consumers.

Following are highlights from the session:

Kevin Smith on the need for authenticity to find success with NFTs:

“This is not the gold mine everyone thinks it is. You can’t just drop a client into this world and assume they’ll sell. Inauthenticity reeks and Cryptocurrency is volatile, it goes up and down. If you’re thinking I’m going to get stinking rich making money for nothing, you’re going to fail. It’s not that quite yet. You have to go into it wanting to be in the space. You can’t just ask ‘where’s the money?’ This isn’t just about commerce, but it’s about art at the end of the day. It helps if you know the world of collectibles or if you’ve been a collector – baseball cards, comics, and what not. That’s what this is. It’s a world of collecting. Think about it as stocks, but prettier to look at and not just numbers. You’re owning a piece of blockchain, and that’s what you’d be selling if you dive into this.”

Smith on the value of innovating around the NFT space:
“This is one more place to go. This is basically YouTube at the beginning. That’s why I jumped in. So, I asked ‘Can we put an entire movie on an NFT?’ I figured why not take ‘Kilroy,’ this movie we made, and instead of shopping it around, we just took it to Crypto and sell it as an NFT. So, basically, we create a gorgeous NFT of Kilroy that has clips from the movie in it – looks like a golden ticket – and whoever has that wins the NFT. But in the real world, people still like holding something tactile — people will sell digital trading cards and then get a physical card after the fact. So, I thought in a world where people still do that, what if our real-world bonus was the movie? The movie is yours. We’ll hold your hand and bring you in. But this is what you get. You get the NFT in the digital world, but in the real world you instantly become a distributor – someone handling the movie.”

Koltai-Levine on how NFTs give creators more control:
“The emergence of NFTs continue to give creators more control over their destiny. The idea of the art and commerce meeting together is a really valuable asset. In the evolution that we are seeing with content in general has changed so much. For the creators, this is a huge opportunity to hold on to their rights, and it’s just one more asset in their arsenal.”

Koltai-Levine on connecting with the right audience through NFTs:
“Whether it’s NFTs or another opportunity, we always address who the audience is we are trying to reach, where the story is, and what is the simplest way to get there. If we can define those three verticals, then we can move on to the next. But the simplicity of it – we say this about buying tickets or downloading a pay-per view – if they have to click more than once to do it, we’ve lost them. The simplification is essential.”

Ahmed on the opportunities to create value with NFTs for sports and entertainment fans:
“For a lot of people, the value of an NFT is that point of access and pride of ownership. The exclusivity of owning that piece of content. As content evolves, as things get more sophisticated, you could see a 360-degree immersive video of that moment at a sporting event or a concert getting captured. To own the virtual ticket to go back to that point, which is new for someone right now but could be nostalgia for someone 20 years from now, is the power through which I’d want us to frame the future of where this goes. The different types of content, whether it’s a feature-length film or a shot during a game, what that value is will be different for different people. There are so many different opportunities around that.”

Ahmed on the two mindsets with emerging technology and how it applies to NFTs:
“There are two mindsets with any sort of emerging technology, and NFTs would certainly qualify. There are the pioneers and the settlers. Right now, you have the pioneer brands going out and toe-dipping and trying out some things that aren’t exactly unexpected but are fun. Those ones that are there are already learning and seeing what they want to adjust and adapt with. As the issues are being addressed and they are dealing with the downsides of certain efforts, you get first-mover advantage. There will be a wave of the settlers who walk in and say, ‘I want to do that, but here’s how I think I can do it different.’”

Fein on the opportunities for creators and marketers alike to take advantage of NFTs:
“There’s opportunity from geek culture, bragging rights, building the community perspectives. Clearly there are opportunities for creators in this space with royalties and a new way to reach consumers. There is a larger new opportunity for us as marketers because we do live in this attention economy, and this is a great way to get out there.”

Crothers on how increased accessibility has made NFTs more desirable for collectors:
“The biggest thing that we’ve learned is that fans absolutely love this space. The reality is people can now collect directly from the palm of my hand, no matter where they are. They can get those items that they might usually need to go to something like Comic Con a special event, or you have to know someone to have access to that product. That’s one of the biggest advantages. I can be sitting in my home and collecting that #1 batman, and it just makes it very accessible for audiences.”

Watch the full panel discussion below.

What is an NFT, and why should your brand care? from Octagon Comms on Vimeo.