A generic, location-neutral family, much used in TV ads promoting multinational brands, leave a futuristic house and, as they do, a fridge, two washing machines, an automated plant watering system and a gas heating unit start talking to each other. These electronic appliances, that speak in the kind of babyish voices normally reserved for cartoons for toddlers, discuss their own power consumption. The family dog sits on the carpet looking distinctly alarmed.

If European consumers were already confused about the whats and the whys of blockchain, this TV ad from Korean start-up Hdac, that is being shown during the half-time interval of FIFA World Cup matches, might do little to help.

Hdac, which is short for Hyundai DAC and was launched by Chung Dae Sun, grandson of the Hyundai conglomerate’s founder Chung Ju-yun, raised $258 million in 2017 to launch a platform that it says is setting out to combine blockchain with the Internet of Things.

The Hdac blockchain platform will, its developers say, allow so-called “smart” devices to recognize and authenticate other devices, store data about them, whilst also enabling “machine-to-machine” payments. Many technology commentators predict the Internet of Things, or IoT, will be the next big thing in technology and Hdac plans to use its blockchain platform to create a stable and secure platform to allow for micropayments between these devices. But in its short history, it has had issues. In May, a hack forced it to shut down part of the system while in December the industry site Crypto Gurus unambiguously described the Hdac ICO as “the Worst of 2017”.

That may have been why Hdac decided to try some big picture marketing.

The ad, that could well be the first time blockchain has been promoted on mainstream TV, will air for the duration of the World Cup, from June 14 to July 15, on UK terrestrial channel, ITV and on the pan-European television sports network Eurosport.

Hdac has gone to the trouble to not only create an English and French version but also cut two different edits, one for 30 seconds and another 70 seconds. Big live-sports events provide advertisers with a rare thing in today’s internet-facing world; potentially huge television audiences. Correspondingly, fees for these slots are high. So the opportunity and risk, for Hdac, is considerable here.

The Hdac ad ends with the generic family coming home. The family dog looks relieved while the electronic devices, in true storybook style, stop talking their baby chat and return to being machines. A voiceover cuts in – an adult voice – to deliver the corporate message.

“Hdac technology platform is smart and secure, thanks to the blockchain solution.”

Got that everbody? And whoever said blockchain start-ups are wasting their ICO millions?

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