Skip to content

Guest post: Why major brands are spending millions on NFTs

For years, marketers have struggled to determine the actual impact of ads on consumer reach and engagement. But the verified transactional nature of NFTs could serve as an antidote.


Fundamentally, we buy into brands because we feel that they represent our aspirations and values. The conversation at Cannes Lion this week about NFTs comes at a time when most of our personal identities are communicated through online channels. We express ourselves through words and images in the communities that matter to us via social channels both professionally and socially.

When it comes to purchases, the internet created an entire movement of unboxing and ratings and reviews that often establish some form of influencer status on the individual sharing their experience. By contrast, NFTs stand on their own and have the potential to satiate the need for us to express our status more directly within our networks.

Gary Vaynerchuck, a staunch evangelist of the NFT revolution, is not a big fan of traditional media. In his view, gross rating points (GRPs) and impressions represent an outdated and opaque method of advertising. The verified transactional nature of NFTs is why he believes so strongly that they can serve as the antidote to the challenges marketers have faced in determining their actual impact on consumer reach and engagement. When a brand produces a distributed form of ownership to the consumer, there is hard evidence of buy-in and true amplification of the brand.

While in-app purchasing is not a new concept (think Farmville), the possibilities of a broader, cross-channel NFT economy are enormous. One example that brought this to light was the idea that a brand could partner with well-known or up-and-coming creators to develop unique NFTs that align to their brand. They could then do something as simple as adding a unique NFT to a customer receipt as an extension of their mark. A luxury brand for example, would have endless possibilities to create collectibles that give tangible value to the customer while creating a knock-on advertising campaign through its loyal and verified customer base.

Reflecting on the notion that brands are a form of communication, NFTs appear to have the makings of a whole new language. Marshal McLuhan would be fascinated to see this evolution take place as the medium here, has most definitely become the message.


Sonia Carreno is the president of The Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada, the only trade association dedicated to the responsible growth of the digital advertising industry in Canada. With a career spanning almost 25 years, Sonia is a true digital veteran who has deep industry experience covering virtually every angle of the digital marketing sector.

Cannes Lions

See all Ideas & Insights