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Storyboard18 - Ad Agencies in Web 3.0: Get crackin'

It feels a lot like the nineties all over again, with that same rare chance and, yet again, the tools to build the future at your fingertips. But it's not going to make itself

Published: Feb 3, 2022 07:13:00 PM IST
Updated: Feb 3, 2022 07:27:34 PM IST

Storyboard18 - Ad Agencies in Web 3.0: Get crackin'One of the many ways Web 3.0 differs is the ownership of the internet. It is being built by everyone, and for everyone. Image: Shutterstock

The year is 2032. You’re sitting with friends at a limited release RTFKT x Starbucks pod-cafe, sipping your morning cup of latte when a cute-looking Sorayama robot walks over and asks you whether you’d like to try out their latest Huckleberry latte sundaes when they launch next week.

You wave over it and it’s added to your wallet. Just then, your girlfriend arrives at the table and you make room for her by pulling out a Murakami chair from your vault. It is made up of 6000 Wild Chrysanthemums that are timed to glow and change color every 33 seconds, in a loop-cycle of 7 years.

The music is subversive with a touch of blues served by a Bored Ape on the DJ console. Hours pass, and it’s time to be home. You bid your adieus and log off. You remove the Magic Leap you were wearing and realize it’s 10 am in the real world.

Feels a lot like the nineties

With all that we hear and read about the phenomenon called Web 3.0 today, it’s possible to imagine a future in a way that is not as disjointed from our picture of it five years back as we thought it to be.

It feels a lot like the nineties all over again, with that same rare chance and yet again, the tools to build the future at your fingertips. But it’s not going to make itself. Creators, collectors, DeFi aficionados, savvy brands, digital-forward agencies, tech bros, crypto punks, bored apes, and Sers – it’s going to take all of us to work together to realise this wonderful dream that some of us were too naive to even see coming.

But unlike its predecessors, Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, which were primarily focused on the accumulation of wealth by the select few at the expense of its consumers, Web 3.0 takes some 101’s of its own.

And so, having spent 20 years as a creator, I have seen the three dimensions of the creator economy first hand and would like to add my two cents about how digitally active agencies can leverage and make the most out of the future of the internet.

The plan of action

One of the many ways Web 3.0 differs is the ownership of the internet. It is being built by everyone, and for everyone. But how does this ownership work? Built on the blockchain (a public ledger that is maintained automatically on a programmable network of computers around the world), Web 3.0 gives its users the ability to own digital assets that are tied to a smart contract, which simply put, is a unique, digital proof of ownership of a particular asset.

This unique nature of the ownership is why these assets are also called “Non-Fungible” Tokens or NFTs. And these NFTs can be anything - a piece of art, digital wearables and avatars, a soundtrack, online event passes, gaming assets, or even a piece of virtual land. These can be owned and utilised digitally across different platforms from a single key, which is your personal wallet.

Brands and creators around the world are working together to come up with innovative ideas about leveraging the NFTs. With each wanting to replicate, or one-up the success of individual artists like Beeple, collectives like BAYC and Crypto Punks, and early-stage startups like RTFKT, which was acquired by none other than Nike, just last month.

Each of these wonderful folks has a community of people following them, a clout that works as leverage that then powers a constant exchange of benefits from both sides, for the long run. It’s also often called a “roadmap”. It’s just like pitching a roadmap to your investors, except they’re really into you.

This long drawn out roadmap of constant exchange of ideas and dialogue with your brand’s own community happens at a price, yes, but because blockchain in itself is a level-playing field, big brands, small brands, startups, and individuals are all equals. And the most innovative idea wins. Which is where agencies come in. And the plan of action can include (and not limit to):

Roadmap: Prepare a plan for the brand, and not a campaign. Brand love > Anything else.

Converse: The biggest benefit to brands in this space is the absence of algorithms. Curate a community on Discord. Or if your brand has the capital, build a social network of your own, where you can reach 100 percent of your audience organically, and anytime of the day. Keeping that in mind, think of the core target audience of the brand and start there. Your biggest fans. Include them in your conversations, and let them truly own the brand. They have always wanted to anyway.

Agency stack: Power up on the right kind of people. The creative community is full of enthusiastic folks with wonderful ideas. Bring creatives and developers under one roof, give them free rein and watch the fireworks.

Give back: Gratify participation. Encourage brands to reward their biggest fans. If Web 1.0 was about image banks, and Web 2.0 about stock, can Web 3.0 be about fans collecting brand assets that they can then monetise if they wanted to? In this new age the consumers, for the first time ever, will have more to gain than the brands - and that is totally ok in the long run. There are more than enough metaverses for all of us, and then some.

Educate: Innovation is our bread and butter. And we have been trying our best to convince our clients to look at it as theirs too. But if there’s ever a time to prove that lack of innovation can kill a brand, it is now. Present successful case studies to your clients, show them some projected data, or better still create a roadmap keeping the brand and their customers’ best interests in mind and take them through it. “This is the way.”

Build a product: As an agency we’re built to provide services for a set scope of work basis a brief and agreed upon deliverables. The time has come to build the next best thing to that, a product. If you’re going to try to convince a brand to build a social network, you’d better have the will and capability to do so yourself.

We’re seeing a dawn of something beyond our comprehension at this stage. And brand/agency partnerships that bring value and resources to the fore, will, in my opinion, open new dimensions for themselves in the future and beyond.

The writer is the founder and creative director, Animal. Gaur is also a creator who is gearing up for second solo show in February, a collector of works by artists like Daniel Arsham, KAWS, Ai Wei Wei, Faile, RTFKT, Tristan Eaton and Shepard Fairey amongst others, and a curator whose initiatives have traveled to London Design Festival, Jerusalem Design Week & TEDx. Views expressed are personal.

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