By Rick Robinson, OOH Media Executive, Public Speaker, Author, Sculptor
Can OOH Media become an NFT marketplace for brands?
Short answer. Yes. Longer answer. Yes, if we get ahead of it now and take on the mission of teaching the public to look for NFT’s in the OOH space.
First, what is an NFT? A Non-Fungible Token. Most of us have heard of them and some of us associate the moniker with art, or more specifically digital art. Many who’ve investigated further tend to agree with those who characterize them as mediocre art files selling for crazy-silly-high prices. Some of us will recite how they act as unique digital certificates of authenticity. Fewer can explain how the non-fungible part creates scarcity. And I think three people truly understand exactly how and where NFTs are held on the Ethereum blockchain.
It’s OK if we don’t “get” the crypto technology. What’s important is to recognize NFT’s as a new asset class – original content with a digital signature that can’t be swapped. Despite the environmental concerns of the high cost of speculative blockchain mining, the risk for scams, and the lack of legislative controls common to early days technology – despite the mystery, the gold rush of unrealistic expectations for artists and the fact most NFT’s go unsold; make no mistake, they are here, and while art was their entre, they are really all about brand content, and they are already a valid mainstream growth opportunity.
Max Siegelman, Social Media Director at OUTFRONT, makes it clear – “If you have the drive and skillset to do it, NFT’s can change any industry. They can thrive wherever there is a fan base.” This is especially true for “fashion, sports, and music verticals” adds Siegelman. Look no further than the NBA for proof. NBA’s Top Shot, where you can own your own collectable NFT moments for as little as $9, has clocked over $700MM in sales since it went live October 2020, according to CEO Roham Gharegozlou. Like all well-hyped and long-anticipated entertainment events, the new packets are immediately sold out upon release.
The marketplace is naturally online. Makes sense. But think about a future where brands embrace OOH as a unique go-to medium for marketing NFT’s. Instinctively they will first want to manifest in DOOH as brilliant demonstration showpieces. The outcomes on the street will no doubt engage the public quickly with visual power and intrigue. This was demonstrated when Digital Artist Jonas Leriche exploited large format TSQ DOOH for the inevitable amplified Instagram social clout.
But that’s not the whole story. It’s the entire OOH toolkit that can be put to work here. Thinking like a seasoned OOH planner, CryptoPunks NFT’s recently used classic printed OOH with a QR for the real-life gravitas, awareness and selling power only OOH can deliver.
Both cases signal how OOH Media can and should become an NFT marketplace for brands.
This is an unexpected outcome. A window for the OOH industry worthy of a focused, intentional sales and marketing effort. The public is coming to expect the medium to serve as a messenger for what’s new and exciting in our daily lives, both commercial and non-commercial. They also now know OOH as a place where D2C products live in the real world. Clearly, it follows without question, NFT’s belong in the OOH space.
The opportunity is ripe for OOH is to establish itself as the open bazaar, the brick and mortar, and the debut stage for this emerging asset class. It’s time we teach the public, and the brands, the NFT market is out on the streets.
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