Pringles has jumped on one of the weirdest bandwagons of 2021 so far, launching a brand new ‘CryptoCrisp’ flavour, available only in digital format on the blockchain.
Pringles is calling the product the first ever ‘virtual flavour’, with 50 limited edition non-fungible token (NFT) artworks up for grabs.
“Can you taste it? No.” The ad reads.
“Can you enjoy it? Yes.”
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What buyers actually receive is the ownership rights to a two-second 1080 x 1080 MP4 video file of a golden, dancing Pringles tube, reportedly created in partnership with Ukranian graphic artist Vasya Kolotusha.
The NFT artworks are for sale on digital collectables marketplace Rarible, and can only be purchased using cryptocurrency.
An NFT is a type of cryptography token that essentially acts as a digital deed of ownership. It can only have one owner at any given time, and cannot be copied or modified.
While fungible digital assets, such as bitcoin, can be traded and exchanged as currency, non-fungible assets act more like collectibles, which can increase in value over time — much like physical artworks, for example.
Earlier this month, auction house Christies sold its first digital artwork, accepting $88.6 million work of Ether for Beeple’s The First 5000 Days.
An NFT of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s first ever tweet, from 2006, also sold this week for US$2.9 million.
However, this isn’t a trend without its dark side. Reports have emerged of NFT artworks going up for auction without the knowledge of the artists, and with the proceeds going to someone else entirely.
For Pringles, realistically, this is just a publicity stunt.
While NFT artworks have been shown they can and will appreciate in value, it’s unclear whether a tin of virtual Pringles will have quite the same gravitas.
Then again, memorabilia always has some appeal. Currently, the highest bid is 1.2 wrapped Ether tokens, which equates to about US$1,900, or AU$2,500.
For what we can only assume was intended to be a tongue in cheek and topical campaign, Pringles’ Twitter post has not been entirely well received.
Many commentators noted the negative impact cryptocurrencies and NFTs have on the environment, due to the large amount of electricity used in crypto-mining.
Others compared NFT sales to pyramid schemes, while some shared how-to videos demonstrating how easily the gif could be downloaded free of charge.
This is genuinely one of the worst pieces of social advertising ive seen in nearly 20 years in the industry
— Nick Nilsson-Bean (@nickobeano) March 25, 2021
I’m only replying to this so the sensible, informed person on your team who warned you about the negative sentiment and bad PR behind pyramid scheme NFTs can put this in their campaign post-mortem.
— lurn, Vampire PhD candidate (@lurnings) March 18, 2021