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A sideways look at avatar projects.

Something’s hanging in the air. Lingering like smoky tendrils. You’ve smelt it haven’t you. Filled up your lungs with it. Felt it beat in your fluttering chest.

Fomo.

Your twitter feed is a jungle; a food chain of Apes, Punks, Cats & Bears.

Battles are being fought over plots of land 400 pixels by 400 pixels wide.

Welcome, to the avatar wars.

I’m an adman by trade. I’ve worked in London, Amsterdam and New York, on some of the world’s biggest brands, selling you things you don’t need. So if you’ll allow me, I’d like to atone for my sins by pulling back the curtain and explaining why you might be feeling the need to spend thousands of dollars on a digital avatar. Because I’m willing to bet a couple years ago that idea would have seemed pretty unlikely to you.

Ok. Let’s do some marketing 101.

You want to know how you make a t-shirt with a swoosh on it cool? You put someone cool in it.

How do you market a phone camera when your competitors destroy you on tech specs and megapixels? You show me someone using that camera on the adventures that I want to be on.

High end brands are masters of selling you ‘status’. These campaigns deliver simple messages: Nike is a brand worn by the world’s top athletes. iPhones are used by people who live exciting adventurous lives. Those are clubs you want to be part of.

We’re tribal beings at heart. Everyone wants to be invited to the party. And now status has gone digital. Our avatars have gone from innocuous expressions of our tastes to club membership badges.

In hindsight, it was probably inevitable. As everything moves into the digital realm, the commodification of our digital selves was sure to follow. NFTs are a new and wildly exciting place, and it would be a shame if we simply recreated the world of high end branding for our online personas.

Swapping designer logos for high end avatars is a limited use of this new medium.

Buy what you love. Express yourself in a way that’s true to you. Trends come and go.

Much love, Draper.