10 of the Worst Crypto Promos to Make You Loathe Consumerism

10 of the Worst Crypto Promos to Make You Loathe Consumerism
Somebody please tell me why. (Image: Dr. Squatch)

It’s one thing to buy the merchandise for your favourite band or movie or game. It’s another thing to wear a tie flooded with bitcoin tokens.

While there has been plenty of coverage for the celebrities who have sunk low enough to become the face of a wide range of crypto projects, some noteworthy brands have also tried to cash in as well. GameStop unleashed its own NFT store, one that’s already doing better than some established trading platforms like Coinbase. But there are even stranger crypto-associations that test the limits of what can and what should exist. What does soap and crypto have to do with each other? How about Laffy Taffy? Can Twinkies be minted onto the blockchain? Can the very concept of a soulless void be made into an NFT? Are we all just fish swimming in a big pond and hooked up to a computer simulation of human existence?

Of course, the ridiculous nature of some of these promotions from brands so wholly unaffiliated with crypto is in itself a means for brand recognition. Though the fact that these companies are willing to tie themselves to a system that has been enmeshed in wide-scale fraud and scams does put an extra bit of onus on these brands. What if a crypto-themed Twinkie does actually get a young person to invest in a crypto scheme that ends up a rug pull?

And even when crypto’s price has declined and the value of major NFT trades are still below their height in 2021, the fact that so many companies are still willing to promote crypto shows there’s still enough sense of trying to milk the cash cow of every penny they can before something finally goes bust. Just looking at the past few months, here are some of the absolute worst crypto promotions we’ve come across.

Crypto-Themed Twinkies Are Here to Clog Your Arteries

Image: HostessImage: Hostess

Even if the price of your crypto won’t last forever, your new crypto-themed Twinkie might. Hostess showed off the “Twinkcoin” crypto-themed snack cake in June. Apparently, it tastes like any other Twinkie, but holy hell, that name. “Twinkcoin,” really? You can’t tell me the makers didn’t know what they were doing. If you’re never heard anybody use the descriptor “twink” to describe a young homosexual male, then you probably haven’t spent too much time on the internet, or else haven’t lived within 161 km of a gay bar.

And just remember, though your Twinkies might last a long time, the price of your crypto can go up or down at the drop of a hat.

Crypto Soap Is Here to Wash Your Soul

Image: Dr. SquatchImage: Dr. Squatch

Yes, this is a thing. No, it does not make a lick of sense. No, the image will never leave your head. Tagged with the line: “Dr. Squatch aims to clean up the metaverse,” this “crypto cleanse” only seems to make me feel I’ll never truly be clean again. It’s part of a partnership with NFT artists CryptoDads and Nychos. In tandem, the company declared they were hosting a sweepstakes where select entrants could get their hands on a prized NFT. The sale went live on Friday.

Dr. Squatch’s Chief Marketing Officer Josh Friedman claimed in a press release that he knows that crypto has become infamous for its ravenous energy consumption and negative environmental impact. He’s apparently solving it by partnering with a company called Aerial that promises to offset the creation of NFTs. Of course this isn’t the first time NFTs have been used in a greenwashing capacity, but a better answer to Friedman’s concerns over the environmental impact of crypto is: just don’t promote crypto.

Khaby Lame Will Supposedly Tell You “Misconceptions” About Crypto

Graphic: BinanceGraphic: Binance

The Senegalese-Italian TikTok star became famous for mocking other influencer’s overly-complicated “lifehacks” seems like the kind of sceptic that wouldn’t walk into a shark pit like the crypto promotional game. However, on June 30 crypto exchange Binance announced Lame would become one of the company’s new “global brand ambassadors.” Binance shared a picture of the Italy-based TikTok star wearing Binance’s colours and a baseball cap with its logo. Not only is his image going to be used on NFTs, but in Binance’s words, Lame will “tackle some of the misperceptions around Web3” with his “signature style.” Time will tell what “misconceptions” lame will inevitably try to “debunk.”

Hot Topic Is Apparently Still Around, and They Want to Help Web3 Animations

Photo: JHVEPhoto, ShutterstockPhoto: JHVEPhoto, Shutterstock

You remember Mila Kunis, right? She voiced Meg on Family Guy and had a starring role in Black Swan. She’s married to Ashton Kutcher. Oh yeah, well what’s she up to now? Apparently its got something to do with crypto, and Kunis is dragging a real fossil from the late 90s and early 2000s to help her out. Toonstar, a “Web3 animation studio” announced in March they were working with Kunis’ company Sixth Wall to launch an NFT series called The Gimmicks. Not interested? Damn. What if I told you they were bringing in Hot Topic to help them out?

CoinDesk reported the studio was working with Hot Topic to create NFTs and Web3 experiences for both companies products. Apparently, the plan is to get together with brand ambassadors called “HT Fanatics” as a new kind of bridge between retail and entertainment. Did any of that make any sense to you? Well, all you need to know is Toonstar’s going to help Hot Topic make in-store NFT sales as well as create NFT merch. Hot Topic will also start carrying Gimmicks merch in store. Does any of this make you want to step into another Hot Topic ever again?

Tony Hawk Skates Straight into a Wall With Sandbox Partnership

No Tony, don’t do this. We know you’ve caught some flack in the past for trying your hand at NFTs before, and some of your helmets might not have actually been protecting heads, but why dip your toe back into that pool? Well, to cut to the chase, Hawk announced this month he was partnering with the virtual land game called The Sandbox to create what they were calling “the largest virtual skatepark ever made.” Let’s just ignore there’s been plenty of skateboarding related games that are actually fun to play, and nothing about these awkward, blocky characters actually bring in the appeal of skateboarding.

“You’ve never seen skating like this,” Hawk said in a video hawking his new tie-in. No, we really haven’t, not with the amount of monetisation going on with avatars and items existing as NFTs.

New York Yankees Players Can Now be Paid in Bitcoin

Photo: Thaninee Chuensomchit, ShutterstockPhoto: Thaninee Chuensomchit, Shutterstock

If you’re already used to the heartbreak of something like professional baseball, I guess you wouldn’t mind feeling a little wary every time you look at your bank statement to see how much your salary is actually worth. The New York Yankees, feeling they can get in on the crypto craze, announced they were working with investment company NYDIG to allow players and staff to get paid in bitcoin, instead of, you know, dollars.

Players can apparently convert a certain amount of post-tax salary into bitcoin without transaction fees. Of course, it comes at a bad time in the overall crypto market, so whether this is a good or bad time to suddenly start converting your livelihood into bitcoin is up to whether you believe in the outlook for crypto or not. Though I’m sure it’s also an attempt to get a few more celebrities to start evangelizing.

Crypto Gift Cards

Image: GiftcoinImage: Giftcoin

Gift cards already have very little use other than incentivising spending at select retailers. Their only purpose is to make gift-givers feel a little less bad since they couldn’t think of an actual item to give someone. Still, at least you know their worth. It’s written on the card. Though if you give somebody a crypto gift card, the money inside could be worth $US100 ($139) one day, then $US20 ($28) the next.

That hasn’t stopped the company Giftcoin from announcing what it called the first digital gift card linked to cryptocurrency, rather than a fixed dollar amount. It also requires users to access a specific Giftcoin app to use their newly acquired funds at select retailers.

Crypto has already been shown to be terrible for actually buying things because its price is so volatile. Still, in the company’s release, CEO Justin Lockwood first called crypto a “get-rich-quick scheme for crypto bros” before adding “There is nothing that exists today that gives people a fun and easy way to give and spend crypto at their favourite stores… Giftcoin is “crypto for the rest of us.” So, why would I want to use crypto if I already have money I know with far more certainty will maintain its value from one day to the next?

Mattel’s Barbie and Other Toys Gets Sucked into Web3

Screenshot: CryptoysScreenshot: Cryptoys

So did you think your childhood toys would stay safe from the crypto leviathan? You haven’t been paying attention. Mattel announced a partnership with Cryptoys, a NFT platform that will allow users to play with customisable NFTs. Even stranger, they’re trying to age-restrict these things to those 18 and up, because apparently they don’t want to look like they’re trying to suck young people into online money-making schemes.

NFTs Are Already a Joke, How about a Laffy Taffy?

Image: FerraraImage: Ferrara

The jokes on Laffy Taffy were never actually that funny, if you could even read the tiny font on the bite-sized packaging. But the classic looks of the jokes are just nostalgic enough to be sellable, so here comes candy company Ferrara dipping into its past and trying to market the jokes found inside old pieces of candy as something you can “own,” or at least the digital version of it. The NFTs were announced July 13 and went on sale July 20.

The Fastest Man Cannot Outrun Web3

Photo: Stuart C. Wilson, Getty ImagesPhoto: Stuart C. Wilson, Getty Images

Do you feel like you’re not making enough money when you’re running? Have you ever felt that if only someone was paying you to exercise that you would actually do it? That’s the basic idea behind fitness metaverse platform Step App, and according to VentureBeat they brought on eight-time Olympic gold medalist from Jamaica Usain Bolt to become the face of their line of NFTs. Get ready to buy digital sneakers for your silly metaverse character to hit those fitness goals. It’s like taking the old Wii Fit model and simultaneously adding in an economic incentive.

For his part, Bolt’s there to try and get more people onto the platform and “inspire as many people as possible to live a healthier and happier life.” I hope he learns that many people would be much happier without feeling the economic pressure alongside the social pressure of staying fit.