Macy’s has a history of Web3 interest, and just opened a metaverse hub. As one of the retailer’s NFT partners, can you share a sense of its interest in this space?
I think they seem really excited about the technology. Just the sheer fact of investing in a team to run the virtual parade and adopting all different types of Web3 technology [including an NFT collection and a Discord channel] and integrating them into their current business model speaks to how they’re open to experimentation.
There are tons of opportunities [in Web3], especially when it comes to customizing and marrying digital identity with a traditional business model, like selling the physical aspect of things.
Cool Cats is now the latest NFT-native brand to sell plush toys in major stores, following VeeFriends and Pudgy Penguins. Why is physical merchandising so important?
I see it as a proof of concept. We’ve already seen that the branding works, the characters work, so now we’re setting our sights on scaling our brand into a household name. And the only way we can do so is by growing our audience.
We can grow our audience in a few ways. We have our social presence that we’re focusing on, we’re building longer-form content, but one of the more powerful ways is partnering with established partners in this space and creating physical items that everyday consumers can see and interact with. A partnership with Macy’s, like this one, is just a way to launch our brand in front of more eyeballs that wouldn’t otherwise get to know us.
And a big-box presence just in time for the holidays doesn’t hurt either, does it?
Definitely. We’re looking at the next four to six weeks as a huge build-up towards the holidays, with the parade moment itself, as well as a marketing campaign that leads up to the parade.
The campaign’s storyline is that Blue Cat and Chugs [two Cool Cat characters] have been separated in New York and the two of them do all sorts of wacky things to find each other. So we’ll have physical “missing cat” posters that we’re going to put up around the city. We’ll have a series of animated shorts that follow the same storyline. We're working with a set of influencers to drive participation in a photo contest that’s going to launch on the day of parade, and we’ll be offering a $10,000 cash prize for whoever takes the most creative picture of the balloon on the day of the parade and shares it on Instagram.
And then, following the parade, we’ll also have new merch and new items and new content that we're going to put out across all of our channels to offer a secondary touch point to all of these new eyeballs that we’re onboarding.
What kind of audience response are you hoping to drive through the Cool Cats balloon?
We want people to be able to recognize the balloon when they see us and be like, ‘Oh, it’s the Cool Cat character’—hence us launching this campaign a few weeks leading up to the parade.
But on the flip side, we feel really confident about the balloon design, and that it will prompt people to Google us when they see our balloon. So we also want the balloon to be a moment of brand discovery. We’ll have all the content ready on our website and we’ll have our social channels lined up to onboard people the moment they look us up.