Naming famed musician and producer Pharrell Williams as the chief brand officer of Ethereum NFT project Doodles might have seemed like a stunt to some observers. However, the company’s CEO claims that Williams is actually key to the project’s growing mainstream push.
At WebSummit in Lisbon today, Doodles CEO Julian Holguin spoke on the subject and others during an onstage discussion with Katelin Holloway, founding partner at VC firm Seven Seven Six and member of the Doodles board, alongside Williams. Seven Seven Six, which was co-founded by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, led Doodles’ recent $54 million seed round.
Holguin discussed Williams’ impact on the colorful profile picture (PFP) project, citing his wide range of artistic output throughout popular culture and ability to reach various audiences with his work. His appointment was announced in June.
“From [Williams'] influence on clothing collaborations,” said Holguin, “to his work on ‘Despicable Me’ and movie products, to his music, his reach is significant.”
“If we truly wanted to be global, we needed to have a creative partner that could help us reach global audiences outside of their current followers,” Holguin added. “[Williams is] not just an endorser of the company—he’s a day-to-day influence on the brand and very involved in a lot of the biggest decisions that we're making.”
Holguin discussed a desire for Doodles to create content across a broad spectrum of entertainment mediums, from music on Spotify and Apple Music to shows on YouTube, noting that Williams would be an “integral part of the business and creating that top performing product.” They’re already working on Doodles-inspired music together.
The Doodles CEO joined in May following a decade with music industry chartmaker Billboard, where he last served as president. Holguin revealed at WebSummit that his personal catalyst for entering Web3 centered around a desire to pursue innovation in a nascent space, rather than try to push Web2 firms towards decentralized models.
“It became apparent to me that I could either continue to try and drag a traditional brand into the future, or go help be a part of making that new future,” he explained. “That's ultimately what led me to Web3 and blockchain technology.”
Holguin argued that the technological complexities of blockchain networks remain high barriers to entry for onboarding consumers. He claimed that Doodles is a brand intent on “coloring the world with joy,” utilizing vibrant artwork as a welcoming and “disarming” invitation to the project's broader experience.
He believes that style will aid in Doodles’ broader expansion, akin to how NBA Top Shot used appealing basketball video highlights to draw people into the NFT space. Doodles has already generated over $535 million worth of secondary trading volume since launching in October 2021, and the team plans to launch a larger Doodles 2 collection ahead.