Number Crunch

Why Taco Bell, Charmin, and Pizza Hut are Trying to Sell You NFTs

Corporate merchandise is going crypto

10 ETH, or approximately $18,000: That’s how much a limited-edition digital collectible created by Taco Bell sold for on the NFT trading platform Rarible last week. The fast-food chain last week issued a series of four different collectible GIF depictions of tacos in different art styles, each in a collection of five, all of which have been sold. NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are records of ownership of digital assets on the Ethereum blockchain, providing a degree of uniqueness and scarcity to otherwise endlessly reproducible digital items.

Although the buyer who paid $18,000 for one of the Taco Bell NFTs bought it in a resale and not directly from the fast-food chain, the NFT allows Taco Bell to earn 0.1% of every resale, the proceeds of which it directs to its foundation for youth empowerment. (It’s worth noting that Taco Bell’s other NFTs have not sold for nearly as much — the next highest sale as of this writing was around $4,000 — although some of their owners are presently trying to flip them for several times what they paid.)

Taco Bell is not the only corporate brand to jump on the NFT bandwagon. Pizza Hut has issued some NFTs of its own, tied to pixelated illustrations of pizza slices, and so has what might be the unlikeliest brand you’d want to buy a digital collectible from: the toilet paper brand Charmin, which is selling cartoon illustrations of its product and mascot and calling them NFTPs. (You figure out what that stands for.)

This image, titled “Transformative Taco,” is associated with one of five NFTs created by Taco Bell and sold for approximately $18,000 on the platform Rarible

Like the viral TikTok Ocean Spray video or brands fawning over Baby Yoda before it, it seems inevitable that as with every internet trend that reaches a degree of popularity, marketers will swoop in to get a piece of the attention.

As @Adam Bluestein explored in Marker, fast food and consumer goods brands have found that selling branded merchandise can be an effective marketing strategy. Now, with NFTs, they’ve discovered that collectible, limited-edition merchandise doesn’t even need to be limited to the world of physical objects.

Definitely gonna need those Charmin NFTPs after I’ve had too many Taco Bell NFTs.

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