During the last edition of Textil Wirtschaft Forum held in Frankfurt on 4th July 2022, among various keynote speakers, Toan Nguyen, self-proclaimed nerd and partner of the Hamburg-based advertising agency group Jung von Matt, took hold of the stage.

The professional is considered a multi-talent in the advertising industry, a prodigy, a specialist in fandom, nerd and pop culture. Born in 1986, he understands subcultures, their language, their references, symbols and platforms - and develops new business models precisely from them - and cavorts in the Metaverse.

During the TW Forum he spoke about NFTs, dull dating, and anarchy on the web. "Do you know how to actually buy one of these NFTs?" A female trader who listened to Toan Nguyen's gushing words wants to try it out. "You need a wallet, you can download that from the Playstore for free - and then of course cryptocurrency to buy the NFT," said Toan Nguyen.

Philip Plein at MVFW
Photo: Philip Plein
Philip Plein at MVFW
But explaining the Metaverse, Nguyen says at TW Forum, is impossible. It's renegotiated every week, he said. Still, Nguyen tried: "An NFT is nothing more than a digital club membership." Kind of like Rotary, Soho House or a soccer club.

Read, write - and own
NFTs, short for Non-Fungible Tokens, are therefore purely digital collectibles that are paid for with cryptocurrency and then exist in the Metaverse. In the early days of the Internet, the Web was only for reading, then everyone could write something themselves, and now, in the third stage of the Web's development: read, write - and own something there.

Nguyen himself has already bought quite a few NFTs and lost a lot of money with them in the last three weeks, he said. The price of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin - for 1 Bitcoin you have to put down more than €19,000 - has recently plummeted. At the beginning of April, 1 Bitcoin was still worth almost €42,500.

But no matter, Nguyen keeps going and has just bought a profile picture for the equivalent of €11,000. In the Metaverse, he makes such decisions quickly. In real life, however, he sometimes thinks for three years about whether to afford a certain watch.

For companies, it can be worthwhile to make the brand known in the Metaverse. Audi, for example, bought "a mediocre NFT" but achieved the "best tweet ever" with it. At the OMR Festival in Hamburg, Audi turned its booth into a stage for a digital art campaign to benefit the people of Ukraine. The digital artwork "Unseen Universe" was auctioned off after the festival in the form of 7,000 NFTs and generated proceeds of more than €842,000 euros. A complete marketing success. The four key performance indicators: reputation, reach, relationship and revenue.

The question companies should always ask themselves: "Do I want to reach many with my actions or really many right ones?" For Nguyen, the special things are exciting, the "nerdy things" that not everyone does. "If someone tells you on a date that they like to travel, that's boring, isn't it because everyone likes to travel? It's much more exciting when someone says they hate travel.”

Balmain fashion show in Metaverse, Pre-Fall 2022
Photo: Happy Finish-Balmain
Balmain fashion show in Metaverse, Pre-Fall 2022
Anarchy on the Net
In the Metaverse, anarchy reigns, there is no longer a power structure; quite different from the centralized Internet of the past. Credibility is above all else. If it's missing, it doesn't work.

Will the trader really get herself a wallet and buy an NFT with cryptocurrency? Still unclear. But Nguyen has a practical tip for the auditorium: "To look smart, write GM for Good Morning. The scene is international - there's always tomorrow somewhere." That way, he says, you show that you belong.

This article was published by Textilwirtschaft.de on July, 7th, 2022

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