Yes, the brands are truly at it again: Charmin is selling its own, toilet paper-themed NFTs, which, of course, it’s branding as NFTP (non-fungible toilet paper).
The NFTs even come with a “physical display,” in case you want to “hang your NFTP in your bathroom alongside your IRL rolls.” No, actually, I wouldn’t want to do that — especially if it’s a screen that’s showing one of the flashing, glitchy GIFs that switch between showing a roll of toilet paper and the brand’s bear mascots. That would just be distracting.
What’s an NFT?
NFTs allow you to buy and sell ownership of unique digital items and keep track of who owns them using the blockchain. NFT stands for “non-fungible token,” and it can technically contain anything digital, including drawings, animated GIFs, songs, or items in video games. An NFT can either be one of a kind, like a real-life painting, or one copy of many, like trading cards, but the blockchain keeps track of who has ownership of the file.
NFTs have been making headlines lately, some selling for millions of dollars, with high-profile memes like Nyan Cat and the “deal with it” sunglasses being put up for auction. There’s also a lot of discussion about the massive electricity use and environmental impacts of NFTs. If you (understandably) still have questions, you can read through our NFT FAQ.
Charmin is only selling one NFT for each of its five designs, so they’re quite limited — just like real-life rolls of Charmin were a year ago. The one silver lining is that Charmin does say it’ll be donating the proceeds from the NFT sales to the Direct Relief charity. Maybe that’ll provide some sort of balance for the ecological damage being done for a marketing stunt (not that the toilet paper industry is great with the environment in the first place).
I was a bit surprised when the first big brand to hop on the NFT bandwagon was Taco Bell — it’s not a brand at the top of my “tech savvy companies” list. It’s not too far out of left field for Charmin, though: at CES 2020, the brand showed off a smart, toilet paper-carrying robot and a VR experience. While those aren’t things that ever, you know, actually came out, it shows that the brand is at least aware enough of the tech sector to spend some of its marketing budget there.