Mastercard will launch its first non-fungible token (NFT) in partnership with the renowned football coach and Mastercard global ambassador José Mourinho. The digital asset will be randomly awarded to a Mastercard cardholder who enters the United Kingdom sweepstake.
Many brands are making use of digital assets in marketing campaigns. Auctions of branded NFTs in blockchain powered platforms seem to be the most common practice. These attract a younger and tech savvy audience and showcase to consumers that the brands are modern and keeping up with technological trends.
These auctions, however, are likely only to engage consumers who already have some familiarity with blockchain or NFTs, especially since auctions involve a financial commitment. The majority of a non-tech brand audience is likely to be unwilling to invest in the ownership of a branded NFT.
Mastercard’s project showcases the use of NFTs that is likely to engage a wider audience. The digital asset is being used as a reward for being a Mastercard cardholder. There is still an aspect of exclusivity since only one NFT will be awarded. However, it motivates consumers to get involved because there is no additional financial commitment.
Rewards and lottery prizes for consumption are common in marketing campaigns. Examples include vacation trips, tickets to exclusive events, and even physical assets such as cars. NFTs are emerging as a new class of these rewards. In theory, they are much cheaper campaigns to manage and involve fewer logistics since the prize only needs to be transferred to the winner’s digital wallet.
Another bonus of Mastercard’s initiative is that it can get more consumers aware of NFTs and blockchain in general. Despite the growth in digital asset popularity over the last couple of months, blockchain-related products are still a foreign concept to the majority of people. Through Mastercard’s NFT project, cardholders can easily get involved with no background knowledge.
Earlier this year, Mastercard announced a global startup engagement program called Start Path dedicated to supporting growing companies in the blockchain and digital assets industry. Creating a project that facilitates people unaware of these technologies to experience it also contributes to the overall growth of the industry and the long term success of emerging startups in this space.
The addition of José Mourinho, an iconic figure in the sports world, is likely to further promote the campaign’s success.
Competitor Visa took a different approach, publicly announcing its purchase of a CryptoPunk NFT.
Meanwhile, PepsiCo’s chips brand Lay’s is using NFTs in a marketing campaign in Romania and Audi in China. Warner Bros new blockbuster movie Dune launched an NFT collection to promote its launch, and rum brand Bacardí is using digital assets to spotlight a new line of rum.