Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of Vaynermedia, says there is no hiding success or failure in the world of NFTs; the brands he works with will know right away whether a launch is a success or a dud. This is because the NFT marketplace is open to the public with all the action logged in the immutable blockchain ledger.
The transparency makes non-fungible tokens a risky bet for Vaynerchuk, but one he is willing to make, since he just announced a new unit within his ad agency called VaynerNFT and signed its first client Anheuser-Busch InBev. “The pressure for VaynerNFT is to put some wins on the board [for Budweiser],” Vaynerchuk says, “because it’s so black and white. Did you sell $1, did you sell $1 million.”
On Wednesday, Vaynerchuk announced the NFT venture, which follows his newfound passion for the fledgling digital asset space. In May, Vaynerchuk launched a more personal NFT project called VeeFriends, in which he auctioned 10,200 NFTs to fans with varying levels of perks culminating in a live event for the digital token-holders called VeeCon. Meanwhile, AB InBev has been with Vaynermedia as a client for eight years already, and the beer-maker has also dabbled in NFTs in the past few months. VaynerNFT’s announcement promised to take “the Budweiser community into the Metaverse.” (The metaverse is where the virtual world meets the real world, and NFTs are the bedrock of the products and services within those realms.)
Vaynermedia is not the only agency to look to pave the way for brands in this new digital class of assets. VMLY&R, Huge, Digitas and other major agencies have an interest in NFTs. The ad world does not want to be slow to react to what could define the future of online commerce and culture, says Craig Elimeliah, exec creative director at VMLY&R. “When we say the word ‘NFT’ in a presentation, clients get excited,” Elimeliah says.