#223: Broad Culture vs. Deep Culture ft. Doodles and Pudgy Penguins

PLUS: 😱 A RTFKT creator send shivers down my spine

Today’s piece is about the culture of the Web3 space, particularly around NFTs. I’m not a culture connoisseur, nor am I a connoisseur of anything besides making self-deprecating jokes. However, web3 is so rich in it that it’s impossible to ignore.

Luca said it best this morning:

I wish I had the gift of one-line bangers like Luca. All I can do is ramble out a couple thousand words here and there 😭

Doodles hosts a pop up in Japan

Yesterday I came across this tweet from Doodles.

When I first saw this, I thought to myself ‘Cool, cool. This seems like a fun activation!’ This was against the backdrop of a massive announcement around the PayPal USD launch that dominated headlines for the day.

This tweet kept popping up on my feed, with various Doodle community members I follow replying and quote-tweeting their excitement around the next vinyl figure launch.

However, there was one reply that made me stop and realize there was more to this than meets the eye.

Who’s David Horvath? He’s the creator of Bossy Bear on Nick Jr. and has spent decades with his wife building the Uglydoll toy brand, selling millions at specialty retail locations around the world. He has also worked with top brands like Disney, Illumination, Hasbro, and Sanrio on various projects.

TLDR: If you want to learn about building long-lasting character brands and IP, check out his Substack.

Why did this Doodle tweet mean so much to David? Why did this tweet get him to buy a Doodle on the spot? Why did this pop up make David quote tweet the announcement twice?

Shibuya PARCO. I’ve never heard of Shibuya PARCO before, and unfortunately I still haven’t been to Japan (yet), which probably explains why.

Shibuya Tokyo is one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in the world and is a hub for shopping, entertainment, and culture.

Those famous nighttime photos of Tokyo? Shibuya.

Source

PARCO is home to Japan’s first official Nintendo store, Pokemon Center, and your usual cast of luxury brands like Gucci, Dior, and Yves Saint Laurent.

The PARCO philosophy really brings the point home.

Even though it’s only for 3 days, Doodles is positioning itself to be alongside some of the most beloved brands in entertainment, fashion, art, and culture…in one of the global capitals of it.

But that’s not all.

Doodles x CAMP

A couple months ago, Doodles announced a partnership with CAMP, a retail shop/play hybrid experience that has physical locations across the US. They partner with large brands like Disney (The Little Mermaid, Encanto, Mickey & Friends) and Nike to create unique activations that immerse visitors into the story and experience.

The Doodles x CAMP activation will be live in Chicago starting August 19th.

Doodles x Crocs

Last week, Doodles announced collab release with Crocs releasing this month. Massive!

What’s important to note is these activations have a wedge to onboard beyond the physical.

  • Crocs: “Complete with shoes, wearables, and jibbitz”

  • CAMP: Create your own Doodle character and step through a rainbow portal”

  • PARCO pop up: Nothing publicly shared, but I hope and imagine there will be a way to onboard those that are interested, possibly something that comes with each physical purchase?

The last nugget for jam-packed Doodles August is shared by Julian Holguin, the Doodles CEO:

Doodles isn’t the only consumer web3 brand thinking this way.

Pudgy Penguins’ is rowing in the same direction

During my regular morning Spaces routine, I happened to come across the Pudgy Penguins Asia Huddle Space with Luca (the CEO) providing updates and answering questions from the Asia holder community. I always enjoy these types of Spaces because they provide a different perspective to my US-centric POV.

I hopped in towards the end, and a community member asked (minute 47):

“What is the wishlist of brands you would love to work with in Asia, and what size are they? It’d be great if we could help you.”

Luca responded that the team is actively in talks with multiple brands and couldn’t share, but did mention:

“From a brand perspective, I’m looking for the places in Asia that are like Melrose or Fairfax in LA, or the SoHo of NYC. I want to throw pop ups on the right street and at the right place. It needs to be on the coolest street with the coolest brands. That’s what I need help with, it’s a huge priority next year. I want to do 4-5 pop ups in Asia, and when I do them I want to do them in a really big way.”

Well Luca, have you heard of Doodles? 😏

Have you heard of Japan? If so, share or subscribe!

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Going broad and going deep

Great, another one of TPan’s rambling pieces. Why is he so hit and miss?

Because I’m the context king as my fiancée affectionately calls me (CK for short) and I have to live up to that reputation. Sometimes you have to wait a little longer for the punchline.

When we think about web3 native consumer companies and brands like Doodles and Pudgy Penguins, they are building with arguably one of the most unique combinations of challenges in modern business building:

  • Almost all these brands are only about 2 years old since mint. Doodles minted in October 2021, and Pudgy Penguins minted in July 2021

  • These brands simultaneously have a superpower and massive thorn on their side: Community.

  • A portion of the community is primarily financially motivated.

  • Public sentiment is out in the open through social media, floor price, and the blockchain

  • Most of these brands have raised VC funding

  • The head start these web3 native brands is dwindling. Every week, an established consumer brand is entering the space or launching a new web3 effort, vacuuming up the space’s attention

Time is of the essence.

And as a result, these brands are responding to these pressures by hitting culture by going broad with consumer culture and going deep with collector and fan culture.

What does this mean?

  • Going broad with consumer culture: Social media, mass market product, brand partnerships

  • Going deep with collector and fan culture: NFT holder community, having a presence in culturally dense and culturally rich ways

Go broad but not deep? Your core community will likely get impatient and stagnate. The brand has a massive community built on social (eg: millions of IG followers) but stays shallow like the channel that it is.

Go deep but not broad? The brand becomes niche, which is fine. However, I don’t think that’s the goal of these companies and they’re clearly speedrunning a process that typically takes many years if not decades to build.

Time to pull out the trusty funnel.

And that is what I believe Doodles, Pudgy Penguins, and some of the largest web3 consumer IP are doing, and legacy brands will be watching closely (whether it’s now or at a later point).

Will these strategies work? I hope we have the patience to wait a couple more years to find out!

A RTFKT creator basically releases a movie trailer

Earlier this afternoon, an RTFKT creator released a 5-minute video that is basically a movie trailer. You don’t have to watch all of it, but watch it.

Call me biased since I’m a fan of this space and a Clone holder, but this is honestly 🤯

Aside from the fact that this is a dope movie trailer, why is this notable?

  • This video was made by Aalasady, a Netherlands-based visual artist that has worked with popular music artists like Young Thug, Lil Baby, Coi Leray, and Juice WRLD and web3 companies like a KID called BEAST, 3Landers, and Primates.

  • Ali made this because he’s a fan of RTFKT. He wasn’t paid to do this and is not part of the team.

  • Ali has created other movie trailer-esque content before, such as The Rise Against Anarchy featuring many top collections and founders. Bonus points if you recognize them all!

  • The video features 200+ Clones from the community, and the voiceover was provided by another community member.

How did Ali create this? The secret isn’t AI (maybe it helped?), but the 3D files that RTFKT provided to holders over a year ago.

Nike has taken a page from RTFKT’s playbook and rolled out 3D files quickly with the Our Force 1’s.

The creator economy has been around for a while thanks to social media platforms.

On the other hand, the brand x creator economy is truly just beginning, thanks to web3.

See you Thursday!

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