With almost all marketing functions being fully decentralized by the end of January 2024, and a new Polkadot 2.0 technology stack (CoreTime, CorePlay, CoreJam, PolkaVM, DA) being developed in 2024, this proposal aims to fund:
- A competent advertising agency, to lead execution on a Polkadot 2.0 rebrand that:
- Distinctly develops Polkadot’s brand as a contrast to its #1 Competitor, Ethereum, explicitly addressing them rather than pretending they don’t exist
- Explicitly addresses everyday humans, appealing to their emotions
- Actively rejects any specific technical details of the technology stack as being relevant (DA, Execution sharding, async backing, map reduce, etc.)
- A high reach advertising campaign to focus on awareness of the above branded assets and a Primary Narrative across all high reach social media channels: Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, Facebook/Instagram, TikTok, …
The heart of what all true believers of Polkadot actually believe is this:
POLKADOT DOES WHAT ETHEREUM CANNOT
or some variant of
POLKADOT IS ETHEREUM SCALED
POLKADOT >> ETHEREUM
There is no equal sign in the last statement, absolutely none. We imagine this narrative has not been pursued for many historical reasons, but the simplest reason: Gavin Wood and Parity were involved in Ethereum’s founding, and Gavin Wood himself values Respect and cannot singlehandedly pursue the above narrative without being disrepectful. With OpenGov and the Decentralized Futures program able to support decentralized marketing, we can develop the above narrative with the same long-term interests of Polkadot in mind as its founders. This is not to say that we aim to be _dis_respectful, but we can aim to be competitive in the following way.
Much in the same way that the foundations of personal computing were set by Steve Jobs/Apple and Bill Gates/Microsoft in the 1980s and 1990s, the foundations of what we currently call “Web3” were set by Ethereum founders Vitalik Buterin and Gavin Wood over the last 10 years. The difference is, both men were involved in the founding of Ethereum. In almost every way, Gavin Wood and Polkadot are like Steve Jobs and Apple: uncompromising in their convictions, intently focussed on the absolutely best product. In contrast, Vitalik Buterin and Ethereum are like Bill Gates and Microsoft, taking a pragmatic approach and accommodating as many people as possible.
The differences between the two communities are striking, but the awareness of Polkadot in the non-Polkadot community is virtually non-existent. To the outside world, Polkadot is just another blockchain. To the Polkadot community, the outside world is filled with pointless garbage: airdrops, shitcoins, shilling, unpredictability of defi, shilling, extending unfortunately to a near disdain of marketing itself. To Polkadot insiders, everything in Polkadot fundamentally is safe and predictable, and with the Polkadot 2.0 tech, actually scales. But the rest of the world barely knows and… barely can be brought to care because at the core, Ethereum polluted the world with… pointless garbage.
It is now clear that Polkadot 2.0 is aiming to be a ubiquitous map-reduce computer that Ethereum or Bitcoin can never be. Ethereum is damned to a rollup-centric future and cannot do what Polkadot 2.0 will do. It is clear that Non-Ethereum competitors Coinbase (with Base, its L2), Solana, Avax, … are appealing to everyday retail with simple non-technical narratives that are limited in basically the same way as Ethereum. We believe it is necessary and timely for Polkadot via DFP or OpenGov to invest in the Polkadot Brand Marketing by competing with the ecosystem leader Ethereum using the Primary Narrative in a respectful way that the founder would do.
Except for the Polkadot Fellows, not even Polkadot True Believers are even aware of what the founders themselves have invented in Polkadot 2.0: true scalability. True believers do not doubt that the invention is real: the execution of 1.0 itself was that powerful. Over the course of the next 2 years, as the essence of CoreTime/CorePlay/CoreJam are birthed, we may morph the narrative from
- POLKADOT DOES WHAT ETHEREUM CANNOT
POLKADOT >> ETHEREUM
- POLKADOT DOES WHAT BLOCKCHAINS CANNOT
POLKADOT >> WEB3
We wish to leave the precise execution of a branded campaign developed by a capable agency along the Primary Narrative, but believe it is critical to show humans explaining two different technology stacks in an accessible way. We wish to concretely show 3 campaign ideas relative to earlier attempts on this form like this or this. In case “brand marketing” is foreign to you, I recommend you check out this old gem from 1997, when Apple was worth 1000x times less than it is now:
Here is one of Apple’s best executed campaigns, “I’m a Mac, and I’m a PC”:
It picks two actors that bear some similarity to nerdy Bill Gates and superhip Steve Jobs, with Apple unafraid to attack Microsoft’s worst features and stand out as superior.
We envision a brand marketing campaign led a curated ad agency unafraid to pick actors to do a similarly executed campaign. This could even using actors bearing some similarity to nerdy Vitalik and hip Gav and have Polkadot unafraid to attack Ethereum’s worst features and stand out as superior. The end goal is to have the Polkadot brand and technology as superior to Ethereum in the average person’s mind, who has no intention of understanding the tech whatsoever.
In no way, shape, or form is it necessary to explain or demonstrate any of the technology (the product and user experience in the “I’m an Mac and I’m a PC” are completely absent and instead represented by people that are fun to watch), but it may be helpful to allude to it (e.g. upgradability, data availability).
We do not reject developer marketing, but it is naive to think that it is impossible to have different messaging for the mass market and developers as if Polkadot can only focus on exactly one thing in a marketing campaign. Apple, Microsoft, Google, etc. are able to execute dual messaging on this effectively, and via OpenGov and DFP there are adequate resources to do so.
Founder Gavin Wood articulates a beautiful analogy here for Coreplay, containing a single theater, 6 stages, actors, plays, and an audience, superscaling to multiple theaters and couriers. This is a highly complex visualisation but with a capable agency, can be executed brilliantly. The word “Coreplay” is not important, but the fact that it scales and is fundamentally capable of perpetually expanding should be. The actors and the audience have to be seen to humanise the end user, with respect for the beauty of the theater(s) and stage and everything running like clockwork with actors waking and sleeping. The end goal is to admire the tech but really show scalability in visual form.
Campaign 3: Web3 is Bullshit: The end of blockchains, the beginning of the ubiquitous map-reduce computer.
Founder Gavin Wood says “I think chains are an old concept anyway with coreplay”. He cannot publicly say this because Polkadot 1.0’s primary product (and still is) … parachains. We believe it is possible to shed the concept of blockchains and adopt what many people like Tim-Berners Lee (Web 1.0) and Bill Gates believe: Web3 is bullshit. The fact that people think blockchains are scammy and Web3 is bullshit makes this transformation easy to love. Polkadot is ready to shed the original sin of Web3 and blockchain. No one really has to understand map-reduce, they just have to understand that there is some awesome thing that is being invented and our conviction is this:
- Dropping the blockchain association will be net positive for the Polkadot brand.
- Dropping the Web3 association will be net positive for the Polkadot brand.
We believe this transformation can grant Polkadot the respect and awareness it deserves.
Due to the uncontrolled level of marketing hype from Polkadot’s #1 true competitor of Ethereum itself, many people in the Polkadot community have extremely low opinion of marketing itself, extending to an utter disdain of any kind of awareness building at all. For these people, I wish to remind them of one of the original brand marketing assets from 1.0 which inspired so many:
It starts with the sentence from Founder @gavofyork:
Polkadot 1.0 designed on the green field, and Polkadot 2.0 generalizes it for builders to work on that green field in entirely new ways.
The following Think Different Ad appealed to both the people at Apple looking for leadership, the developers building on top of Apple, as well as Apple customers, who of course bought iPods and iPhones, iMacs, MacBooks in the following years, inspired by Apple’s Core Values.
I know that that some similarly vague campaign appealing to the greenfield can attract a new generation of builders who build on top of Polkadot and actually change the world we live in for the better.
If you see genius in Polkadot 2.0, I hope you can share your thoughts of how can help make everyone aware of it in a 2024 Brand Marketing Campaign.
Your ideas posted here will be seen by the agencies engaged in an RFP process and inform their design.
If you have ideas for anything related to brand marketing, from new brand campaign ideas to narratives and sub-narratives, please share!