NFTs embraced by Korean corporations as they market to the young
Everyone is getting into non-fungible tokens (NFT), whether their businesses are crypto-related or not. From mobile carriers to manufacturers, NFTs are fast becoming marketing tools for companies seeking to appeal to younger demographics.
Kia sold all 60 NFTs it issued on March 26 within 15 seconds. Inspired by the carmaker's electric vehicle models, each NFT was priced at 350 klay — Kakao's crypto coin, which traded at 944 won ($0.75) per unit on Monday afternoon — on Klip Drops, an NFT marketplace run by Kakao's crypto subsidiary Ground X.
KT is currently holding an NFT art exhibition at the Andaz Seoul Gangnam hotel in southern Seoul. It will run through May 15. NFT artworks are displayed on screens in the hotel's lobby and on the second basement level, and will be available for sale as well.
Companies are rushing to issue NFTs to get some cred and generate a buzz with the cool kids.
Hyosung Heavy Industries, a construction company, issued NFTs on March 25 in cooperation with GalaxiaMetaverse. The tokens were bird's-eye images of the company's newly-built officetels in southern Seoul. The NFTs were distributed free to those who signed up for GalaxiaMetaverse's website.
"It is the first time in Korea that an NFT based on a real-life officetel building was issued," Hyosung Heavy Industries said.
Some companies aim to generate customer loyalty with NFT issuance.
In March, Xexymix, a yoga-wear company, sold 10 sets of NFTs created with images of its Xesia virtual model. They were priced at 1 million won each. The NFTs came with 500,000 won worth of points that can be used at Xexymix online store, a one-year VIP membership and other benefits.
"We wanted our customers to recognize our brand's value not only in digital space but also in real life," explained Xexymix, adding that its goal was to "diversify how people own and experience a product."
Samsung C&T, operator of the Everland Resort theme park, sold all 330 of its tulip NFTs in April. Issued to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Everland's tulip festival, the NFTs were priced between 50 to 70 klays, which at the time was worth about 68,000 won to 95,000 won.
"Customers who own the NFTs will be offered special events and services both online and offline," Samsung C&T said.
LG Electronics is working with Seoul Auction Blue, an online auction service provider, to develop NFTs.
In March, the electronics maker delivered NFT versions of artist Kim Whanki artworks to the highest bidder, along with an LG organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panel TV. The three NFTs of Kim's "05-IV-71 #200 (Universe)" were auctioned off at 194 ethereum, which was worth 737 million won, the highest auction price for an NFT artwork in Korea.
Its NFT business will "create synergies with the OLED Gallery service, which allows consumers to appreciate artworks through high-definition television screens," LG Electronics said.
Samsung Electronics is hosting an exhibition of NFTs from April 29 to May 8. A total of 28 NFT artworks from 22 artists are being shown on the latest TVs from the company in Coex, southern Seoul.
Hyundai Motor released NFTs based on its "metamobility universe" in collaboration with NFT brand Meta Kongz in April. The carmaker plans to open an NFT community website this month and issue additional NFTs featuring Meta Kongz characters.
“We are entering the community-based NFT market to communicate with the consumers and provide a more diverse experience,” said a spokesperson for Hyundai Motor.
Hyosung Heavy Industries also said that it plans to “adopt blockchain technology for services in various fields, such as a security token offering based on real estate, or a show house service in the metaverse.”
Experts explained that NFTs became a new and younger advertising tool.
“NFTs issued by companies can meet the rising demand from young people for artistry, while successfully serving the purpose of a brand advertisement in a short span of time,” said Lee Eun-hee, a professor of consumer science at Inha University.
“It’s becoming an effective marketing tool for raising a company’s profile and attracting publicity,” said Lee.
BY KIM GYEONG-JIN [email@example.com]