Stella Artois auctions Marcus Samuelsson’s signature fried chicken recipe as NFT

Dive Brief:

  • Stella Artois is auctioning off the signature fried chicken recipe of celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson in the form of a nonfungible token (NFT) to support its restaurant relief efforts, according to details shared with Marketing Dive.
  • The NFT includes a digital file for the recipe of Samuelsson’s Fried Yardbird — a dish made famous at his Red Rooster restaurant in Harlem, NY — as well as a one-of-kind video where the chef shares kitchen prep tips. The winner of the auction, which is being handled by Christie’s, will also receive a private dinner for two at Red Rooster, where Samuelsson will prepare the Fried Yardbird and other food while holding a personal meet-and-greet featuring Stella Artois.
  • Proceeds of the NFT sale benefit the James Beard Foundation. The auction is timed around National Fried Chicken Day today (July 6), a promotional holiday that has seen growing attention from marketers as the food category takes off in popularity.

Dive Insight:

Stella Artois, the beer marketed by AB InBev, is hoping to hook foodie consumers on its latest NFT play with the promise of access to the recipe behind Marcus Samuelsson’s famous Fried Yardbird. While the star chef isn’t necessarily cagey about the recipe itself, the NFT including a video of his personal prep routine and the reward of a private dinner for two at Red Rooster could boost its appeal as restaurants open back up.

NFTs are well-suited to the exclusivity concept. They act as unduplicable digital assets built on blockchain technology, granting them a collectible quality that has shaken up the world of art auctions, hence Stella Artois turning to Christie’s to handle the Fried Yardbird prize.

The partnership with Samuelsson is part of Stella Artois’ “Chef’s Special NFT Collection” and will benefit the James Beard Foundation, which the brewer has worked closely with as the pandemic upturned the culinary industry and its on-premise sales. Last year, Stella Artois teamed with messaging company Holler and Venmo on digital stickers that supported the James Beard Foundation and hosted livestreams drawing on the nonprofit’s roster of well-known chefs to entertain homebound consumers.

Stella Artois isn’t new to the NFT concept, either. Earlier this summer, it teamed with the digital horse racing platform Zed Run on an activation that let users bid on different breeds carrying the brand’s logo. Marketers broadly have continued to bet on NFTs even as some of the initial fervor around the technology cools, leveraging the assets to cater to diehard fans looking for a permanent piece of digital brand paraphernalia or raise money for charity.

The latest campaign’s timing for National Fried Chicken Day offers another sign that marketers across categories are eager to get in on the buzz around fried chicken. The popularity of offerings like fried chicken sandwiches has been tied to poultry shortages in the U.S., while a number of fast-food chains have recently launched their own takes on the concept.

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