top of page

What Was the First TV Commercial to Mention Blockchain?

Updated: Apr 26, 2020

IBM used a commercial to help make Blockchain a household term while promoting their computing services to track a tomato

Video: The IBM Cloud: The Cloud For You

It may not come as much of a surprise to the general listener that a company with long-term presence in the business computing space would promote emerging technologies including Blockchain, IOT (internet of things), and AI (Artificial Intelligence). But it did come to me as a pleasant surprise hearing a mentioning of Blockchain early one morning on a health club television while exercising.

Blockchain mentioned for general consumption

This commercial was the first time that I heard the word Blockchain on a television broadcast to the general public. It didn’t appear as an ad to the right side of my computer screen or a pop-up on my iPhone based on my search history accumulated after the last couple years researching Blockchain. This was an ad for general consumption as an attempt to bring Blockchain into the ears and the minds of the general consumer.

What's the motivation to mention Blockchain in a TV ad?

But this was IBM talking about IBM technologies. They even threw in additional terms such as Internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI). But several questions came to my mind:

Who is IBM's target audience?

Who is the buyer of IBM services and technologies?

Why would IBM pay the high price for a commercial with so much jargon if the majority of people don't know what they're talking about?

Would the general listener even pick up on these technological terms or just focus on the tomato and wonder what the heck IBM is talking about?

After thinking about it, the reason IBM would take this step makes sense likely for their business plans but also to get the Blockchain name out to more people.

Using intrigue to draw in people to the blockchain conversation

Infusing television ads with the names of emerging technologies while not explaining them, is a subtle way to get Blockchain in the minds of innocent bystanders who happen to be in earshot. However, this may not compel someone to seek out information about what Blockchain is or how it works in a way that will matter to the general consumer.

In the age of social media, the use of intrigue to result in click-throughs is valued and deployed often. Maybe IBM wanted to trigger a listener to ponder, "why would someone want to track a tomato, and on a blockchain?" or even better "what is Blockchain?" If the listeners are in fact seeking out the answer to either of these questions, this is a great step forward to increase blockchain awareness. I hope more trailblazing companies pursue Blockchain use cases while promoting their efforts in general conversation to increase general awareness. Mentioning blockchain increasingly is good for the exposure, which in time is good for adoption.

Investing in Blockchain? You better let people know about it

As to why IBM would take the time, energy, and expense to broadcast technological jargon like IoT, AI, and Blockchain must be that they believe in these technologies. Or that they are deploying these technologies. If they are deploying these technologies, likely investing far more in their implementations than the cost of the commercial. Getting the terms out into the airspace is an important step to making these terms more recognizable. IBM must suppose that eventually people will catch on. And perhaps the audience will remember that it was IBM who mentioned it in a commercial first way back in the fall of 2017.

What was the first commercial - television, radio, or otherwise - that you recall the mentioning of Blockchain?

Share your thought in a comment on this post or in one of the GAME CHAiNGER Forums.

Thank you for reading