A Tale of Failed Web3 Ventures By Mainstream Brands

Lately, Web3 has been buzzing with so much activity. Several companies are working on what could be the next big thing. The NFT markets, too, having gone beyond PFPs, are now innovating on tokenizing real-world assets. This expansion to many possibilities has greatly interested many non-crypto natives. Quite possibly, several mainstream companies have been looking, listening, and wondering why they have not done some NFT projects. To many, it looks so easy; Print some JPEGs and upload them to a blockchain while someone, somewhere, plays good samaritan and puts a bid on them. Everybody is doing it. How much work could it be? Well, let’s ask Pepsi and Chevrolet, then. Both household names have tried to break into the Web3 space through NFTs but have had to navigate muddy waters as reality fell short of expectations. On the inside, both firms might be wondering what went wrong, but from an outside Web3 perspective, marketing strategies could have been much better.

The Mic Drop NFT by Pepsi

Pepsi released its entry into the Web3 space with the ‘Mic Drop genesis’ NFT collection. However, Pepsi was criticized for its strange artwork. NFT’s artworks have been one thing that has continually appealed to members of the NFT community, and as such, they were quick to criticize Pepsi’s artwork. The Mic Drop Collection, as the name suggests, is a collection of microphone images that are dulled up in different ways, with some microphones having a headset to go and others having a mustache. 

In hindsight, there are several things Pepsi could have done better to make its first NFT collection a better success. A particular user on Twitter criticized Pepsi’s Web3 efforts by tweeting, “I think they thought it’s all about drawing the jpeg” another said, “the mic drop was symbolic = all efforts dropped” these tweets are about Pepsi’s lack of effort in promoting their NFT collection. A common problem most Web2 brands venturing into Web3 have is that they expect their brand popularity in the Web2 space translates to popularity in the Web3 space. However, that is not the case, and there are steps these brands must take to succeed in the latter. For instance, there were no promotions from Pepsi as regards the launch of their NFT collection and no form of media and public relations from the team. In such an instance, it was important for Pepsi to have carried Web3 media outlets like Coindesk and Cointelegraph along and even go further to consult with Web3 content marketing firms like Off-Chain Communications on how to achieve success in the space. 

Chevrolet NFT by Chevrolet

Chevrolet’s First-Ever foray into the NFT space can be classified as a total disaster; The car maker tried to auction an NFT which came with a ‘free’ 2023 Corvette Z06 but received no bids, not once but twice! The first bidding round opened on June 20th, 2022, and closed on June 24th, but they received zero bids during that period. The auction host SuperRare went as far as extending the deadline by 24 hours but still nothing. 

At first glance, it is easy to decipher why Chevrolet’s NFT venture was a disaster. The starting bid price for the NFT was 206 ETH, equivalent to around $240,000 then. As such, it is easy to think it was a cash grab since the original car cost around $90,000. So there was no reason to spend that additional amount on something that wasn’t worth it. Although it’s pretty apparent that the bid price was an issue, there are underlying misconceptions that these Web2 brands have about the Web3 space, which has hindered their success in the Web3 space. It is common for many of these brands to think that the Web3 space is just an avenue to generate additional revenue for their company, but the members of the Web3 community can smell a cash grab from miles away. 

Chevrolet’s NFT disaster shares a similarity with another car maker Porsche which made the same mistake regarding mint price. Porsche had set the mint price for its NFTs at 0.911 ETH per token, which many found outrageous for a brand just venturing into the space. These issues and misconceptions highlight why it is important for Web2 brands to hire the services of a Web3 Advisor and Web3 marketing firms like Off-Chain Communications, which can provide direction on the best way to venture in the space. There are the do’s and don’ts of the space, and that is something these brands need to get familiar with. 

How Can Web2 Brands Succeed In The Web Space?

Below are some tips for Web2 brands venturing into the Web3 space and how they can achieve better success in their endeavors. 

Hiring Web3 Natives/Acquisitions

The first step to breaking into a market is to get familiar with it. And the easiest way to go about that is to hire people with solid experience within these markets or acquire existing companies there. Many companies outside Web3 want to leverage the incredible potential in Web3 and NFTs regarding brand awareness and customer acquisition but never get it right. From the beginning, these firms should seek out people with the practical know-how of NFT minting and marketing.

Like anything in business, it helps to have people who know the field to guide you through the space. There are a couple of ways of going about this strategy. One of them is to acquire a well-established NFT/Web3 brand that they can incorporate into their organization. Though this option is capital-intensive, it is a better alternative if a company has a consistent long-term roadmap.

The other option will be to hire Web3/NFT natives to help consult on how well to go about the process.

How to find these people?

NFT Influencers: Companies can look closely into the industry to find someone to work with. These are people with a good track record and a good name in Web3. Just because someone has a lot of followers or an expensive NFT does not mean they know what they are doing. Companies should look for people that have built or been a part of successful NFT projects and command a good reputation in the Web3 community. These influencers extend their credibility to the firms they work with, leading to increased participation from their fans,

Web3 Exclusive Job Boards: Web3 job boards are becoming more common. These job boards are where many Web3 natives will be looking for work over traditional job boards like indeed, angel list, or monster.

Web3-Focused Agencies: Companies can search for agencies with a good track record in outsourcing, recruiting, consulting, and marketing Web3 projects. They include Yuga Labs, Doodles, etc. These companies are very experienced in executing successful Web3 projects and, as such, are valuable to market entrants. Some agencies offer specific services like marketing, smart contract designing, 

In all, companies are advised to do their due diligence and not get scammed or associate with the wrong people; There is a term widely used in crypto, DYOR. Do your own research. That applies to finding the right people to hire for consultation too. Asides from marketing, hiring Web3 natives will help with licensing, too, since they already know the nitty-gritty of how it all works.


For Web2 firms that cannot afford to acquire brands outrightly or, in more common cases, where it is not cost-effective, they can forge partnerships with their Web3 counterparts. Partnerships between NFT projects and Web 2 brands typically have a higher chance of success than the other options mentioned before. By partnering with a respected NFT project, companies can establish credibility for their brand in Web3.

The great thing about partnerships is that there are many options with NFT projects. There are NFT projects for every type of consumer out there, so with some research, companies can find a great fit for their brand. Partnerships between Web2 and Web3 companies can take many shapes and sizes. Here are some ways a partnership can be useful.

  • Releasing a new line of NFT products with an established NFT project
  • Using the tools and technology from an NFT project within your normal business functions
  • Sweepstakes to market their brand
  • Affiliate codes for products
  • Custom IRL products using the art from a partnered NFT brand
  • Brand activations in metaverse land owned by an NFT project
  • Sponsorship of events both online and in-person
  • Integration of your brand into the ecosystem of an NFT project
  • Cross-promotion on social media
  • Licensing the IP from an individual owner of an NFT to utilize it with your brand. That can only be done for NFT projects where the holders have full IP rights to use their NFT for commercial purposes.

These are a few different paths companies could take by partnering with an NFT project.

Building In-House

Companies that love growing and grooming their workforce in-house should be wary of mistakes resulting from practical experience and ensure they plan accordingly. Their team has to look something like this;

  • Artists capable of making the art for the NFTs.
  • A developer (or group of developers) who can create the smart contracts required for your collection.
  • A customer service team fluent in crypto to answer questions people have for getting started. Remember, you are a big brand, so this might be the first NFT many people buy. You will need people capable of walking them through the onboarding process.
  • A social media team that knows the trends and how to interact with your customer base and the NFT market. That was one of the problems with Pepsi’s Mic Up. Several NFT enthusiasts found the words of the social media handler very cringe.
  • A community manager to keep the buyers engaged and excited both pre-mint and post-mint.
  • A proper strategy for the project post-mint.

The Web3 space is completely different from the Web2 space, and as such, Web2 brands shouldn’t be quick to believe that their Web2 strategies can be effective in their Web3 ventures. These brands should be more open to consulting and hiring the services of persons more conversant with the Web3 space and can provide directions to these Web2 brands on how to navigate their way around. Web3 brand Despark can help provide customer research for these brands. Meanwhile, a brand like Off-Chain Communications can help develop a content strategy for these brands. Furthermore, media outlets like Coindesk, Decrypt, and Cointelegraph are useful platforms for these Web2 brands in terms of getting their content in front of their Web3 audience.  

Interested in marketing your blockchain/Web3 project? Please contact Off-Chain Communications for a free consultation and quote.

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