When the Hdac TV commercial appeared in the middle of the World Cup half time I was impressed. Here we are in a millennials' driven social media, dual screen, nonscheduled, watch when you want world of selfies and viral ads produced on mobile phones. It made me seem so much more relevant. There it was a 30 second rather straight forward TV commercial hitting all the old familar Clichés. Family, dog, home, and an idea of the IOT (Internet of things) that most utility companies have been plugging but cannot yet deliver because of old infrastructure and old technology clogging the system.
The take home here is that broadcast communications still work. Brand is everything and getting the Blockchain onto the screen for tens of millions of people to query is really powerful. In fact the word Blockchain in the ad was probably stronger than the Hdac name, which I am assuming come from 'Home decentralised application company'. Even the fact that Blockchain technology may not really be needed in the home environment immediately it didn't matter firstly it was great for Hdac to be the first and even better for the decentralised movement.
It was in 1997 that the Super Bowl ad break saw, Auto-by-tel, E-trade, Hotjobs.com, Kforce.com, LifeMinders.com, monster.com, ourbeginning.com, Pets.com, Webex.com and WebMD all running commercials. Only Monster.com appears to still exist and many of the companies that survived took 5-6 years to make a profit. But these dot com ads certainlt started a revolution and without a doubt we are seeing a reply of a disruptive technology about to go mainstream.
BUT - Just like in 1996 we are not sure what bit of blockchain will be the killer app? Will it be the ultimate control and protection of our data that we like, will it be the fact that intermediaries and middle men will have less of a cut in a friction less zero transaction world or will it be the fact that many things we depend on will not be controlled by huge megalithic corporations headed by billionaires. The fact is we may not even know what the killer app is because as in 1997 it has not been invented yet. If Google and search was the killer app in 1999 we may have two years to run before we find it. It took a lot longer for Google to hit the Super Bowl with this ad...
So what is BlockChain going to disrupt?
What I am sure about is that there is a new technology about to disrupt. If the Internet was a revolution in communications will blockchain, for instance, disrupt the whole idea of money? But you may ask what does that mean..disrupt money? Well if we agree that money is just a vehicle to reduce trade friction and gold is a store of wealth that we just invented and money is centralised and controlled by Nations (and Banks) with the intermediaries (banks) making the biggest cut then if Bitcoin is Gold and the 1800 or so crypto coins that are currently out there are money and there are no intermediaries because blockchain means we don't need them then have we achieved a disruption? At the beginning of banking it was full of fraud and bankruptcy (that's what the word means- banks going bust) and the crypto world is showing the same signs of a crazy unregulated system... so there are many parallels.
The word “bankrupt” comes from Italian banca rotta, which (translated) means “broken bench.” In Italy, money dealers worked from tables, or benches. When a money dealer ran out of money, his table (or bench) would be broken, and he could no longer deal money. Hence, the development of the use of the word banca rotta.
The bitcoin world is also full of hackers and fraudsters , pump and dump experts, whales and a lot of FUD.. in other words no different from normal! Underlying it all, however, is an enormous wave of millennial's wanting to do things differently.
So its all good news, especially if you still know how to make good 30 second TV commercial, but seriously for all those who can remember the early naughties it really is back to future.
Written by Stuart Greenfield who is a technology marketing consultant and advises businesses on branding, advertising and communications.