PepsiCo’s potato chip brand Lay’s launched a non-fungible token (NFT) project in partnership with digital asset platform Project Ark in Romania. The initiative sees Lay’s join an expanding list of brands using the technology as a marketing tool.
In 2018, Lay’s launched a marketing campaign in the U.S. titled Smile with Lay’s. The campaign featured excited smiles on potato chip packages, and for every purchase, a donation was made to Operation Smile, an international children’s medical charity.
Since then, the theme of “Smiles” has been a core aspect of Lay’s marketing strategy even after the end of the campaign, and contributed to their “Everyday Smilers” campaign in 2020, which was looking to build a counterpoint to masked faces.
Following the theme of smiles, the NFT for the Lay’s campaign in Romania is titled “Share smiles with Lay’s”. The strategy to implement digital assets highlights that Lay’s is likely trying to attract a younger and digitally native consumer base. The auction also supports an engaging and interactive marketing approach.
The NFT represents a visual arrangement of over 3000 smiles. The digital asset was minted on the Polygon network, an Ethereum sidechain that is more energy-efficient than the main Ethereum network. It is being auctioned through Lay’s Open Sea page, and the bidding has passed $300,000. All proceeds will go towards four non-profit organizations active in Romania’s educational, ecological, and social issues.
“The SMILE ImpactNFT is an example of cross-industry partnership that can drive social impact in a creative way that adds ongoing value,” said Max Song, CEO of Carbonbase and Founder of Project Ark. “There are clear synergies between minting NFTs and making the world better.”
The NFT is part of the ImpactNFT initiative, which is an online marketplace launched by Project Ark funding animal and environmental conservation efforts around the world. Meanwhile, Project Ark is a blockchain-powered conservation platform built with Carbonbase and the World Wildlife Fund Panda Labs.
Other brands using NFTs as a marketing tool include Audi, Bacardí, and DKNY. Another angle is using product positioning in online games through NFTs. Nascar has partnered with digital horse racing ZED run to place Nascar branded horses as NFTs in the game, and Coca-Cola launched an NFT collection through the digital reality game Decentraland.