Pudgy Penguins and Doodles
Groundwork for Mass Adoption
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Groundwork for Mass Adoption
If you don’t know, Camp is part Disney World exhibition part retail shopping experience. The company has even partnered with Disney on some of their locations, including an Encanto-themed store in NYC where families can pay $30 to immerse themselves in a “self-guided tour” through Casa Madriga (I have not seen Encanto but I assume Casa Madriga means something to Encanto fans).
OPJ is bullish on this announcement. To be honest, it’s hard to imagine a better partnership for Doodles.
We have often defended Doodles against the many waves of criticism they’ve received specifically on the back of their proven track record putting on excellent IRL activations.
We also think this is a brand win for reasons David Horvath has discussed (including in this newsletter): Brand building isn’t just about being seen it’s about where you’re being seen. A Doodles partnership with Camp puts them squarely in front of the audience they should be targeting (metropolitan families) with the kind of cool affiliation (Camp) that makes it more likely that the folks who first encounter them there, will be fans (as opposed to being discovered in Walmart, for example).
Funny enough, we here at Overpriced JPEGs already had a newsletter about Doodles teed up and ready to go when the Camp announcement came out.
Contributing OPJ writer, Peter Bogaard, had put together an analysis of Pudgy World vs. Doodles 2 as two similar mass onboarding efforts undertaken by web3 brands.
We think that analysis remains just as relevant now, especially as the conversation focuses on mainstream onboarding with the Camp announcement.
We also think the similarities and differences between Pudgy World and Doodles 2 are worth better understanding and tracking as the industry evolves.
At the highest level, both Pudgies and Doodles are building consumer businesses off the back of a family-friendly animated character IP. They are businesses that will ultimately rise and fall on the brands’ abilities to weave compelling stories for their characters and to make an audience care about individual Pudgy Penguins and Doodles.
This puts them in company with VeeFriends and, perhaps, Cool Cats, but in contrast to other major projects in the space: Yuga isn’t family friendly, per se, Moonbirds is focused on art not character storytelling (though they have unveiled some initial lore with the launch of Mythics), DeGods is building a social club, Memeland is centered on gamification and digital products.
Doodles and Pudgies have also both been outspoken about their desire and potential to onboard the masses to web3, given the family-friendly nature of their brands.
And with Doodles 2 and Pudgy World, respectively, both companies aim to:
Create millions of new characters to achieve a non-dilutive expansion of their core IP (one key difference is the “new” Pudgy NFTs are soulbound while Doodles 2 Doodles will be trade-able)
Allow for the purchase and trading of wearables and other goods for those new non-dilutive characters as part of a broader ecosystem
And yet, you could be forgiven for missing the intense similarities between these two undertakings as the path to them has looked very different. So let’s unpack this a bit more…
Doodles 2 Overview
Doodles 2 was officially announced in January of this year, after being first teased publicly during NFT NYC last year, shortly after CEO Julian Holguin stepped in.
It’s hard to remember now, given all the FUD of the last year, but Julian’s presentation at NFT NYC the month after he joined the team was, at the time, heralded as an example of professionalism and seriousness in a space otherwise run by a lot of inexperienced operators.
From the outset, the explicitly stated goal of Doodles 2 was to “make [the] digital identity and the style of Burnt Toast [artist behind Doodles] accessible to everybody.”
Even in February 2022 when Jordan Castro, aka Poopie, came on Overpriced JPEGs, it was clear the team was thinking about how to get Doodles into the hands of millions of people, without devaluing their existing holder base.
Doodles 2 has been presented as a big part of that plan.
So what do we know about it?
A base Doodle (called a Doodle Soul), like a mannequin, with customizable traits that ultimately are fixed on-chain -- currently in closed beta (available to those who burn a Beta Pass) on the Doodles Stoodio site
Wearable NFTs which can be put on and taken off your Doodle, and bought, sold, & traded to allow for a customized look, feel, and vibe for every Doodle.
The basic facts + rollout timeline of Doodles 2:
May 2022: Julian Holguin announced as CEO for Doodles
May 2022: Dooplicator is announced -- all Doodles holders are eligible to claim one but its ultimate purpose is a mystery
June 2022: Doodles 2 is announced / Julian Holguin speaks at NFT NYC
June 2022: Genesis boxes are announced -- sold through a bucket auction. The price ended up being .5 ETH, netting the team $10 million. Each Genesis Box contained wearables for Doodles 2
January 2023: Doodles 2 will be on the Flow blockchain - announcement
February 2023: Doodles 2 beta goes live. Holders can now use their Dooplicators to create wearables out of their Doodles’ existing traits. Wearable buying and trading opens on the Gaia Marketplace on Flow.
Moving forward: Rumors of other uses for Dooplicators, more partnerships, + opening up the beta abound
At this stage, Doodles 2 is a bet on the proliferation of digital identities above anything else and will, in theory, work in tandem with the other bets Doodles is making on IRL activations, music, and animated storytelling. ***Note, this paragraph was written prior to the Camp announcement being made, but of course this thesis is made all the stronger in the wake of the announcement.
Check out our interview with Julian from earlier this year where he teased a lot of this stuff as well:
Pudgy World Overview
Pudgy owner, Luca Netz, has been similarly insistent around his intention to onboard masses through the Pudgy IP since he bought the project in April of 2022.
In fact, Luca has been vocal about the fact that he was drawn to acquire Pudgies specifically because of what he saw as the universal appeal of its characters.
As a TL;DR on Pudgy World… it does not, as of yet, appear to be the be all end all of the Pudgy vision, but rather a constituent component of it (like Doodles 2 and Doodles). Luca has suggested that, in its end state, Pudgy World will be a virtual, social gaming experience, a la Club Penguin or Webkinz, but he has described a bigger vision to Pudgies in which “traditional” social media, film, and TV, also play a role. This YouTube update Luca gave, provides a good overview.
In contrast to Doodles 2, however, “Pudgy World” did not have a long public incubation period.
Though Luca has teased a toy line for some months, the team announced and launched the first phase of Pudgy World in a single day in mid-May, in tandem with the launch of its plushy toy line on Amazon, which constitutes phase 1 of Pudgy World.
Each plushy comes with a “birth certificate” for the Penguin, with a corresponding QR code that, once scanned, creates a digital, soulbound penguin NFT on Polygon and unlocks a pack of wearables in which to dress said penguin.
The wearables can then be sold, bought, and traded on the Pudgy marketplace.
Ultimately, these soulbound penguins and their wearables will populate the social gaming Pudgy World experience.
The team also recently sold 150 physical vinyl collectibles through a partnership with NTWRK, a curated, livestream shopping site that focuses on shoes, trading cards, designer toys, and other collectible items.
The basic facts + rollout timeline of Pudgy World:
February 2023: Pudgies announces they are working with Retail Monster on a Pudgy Penguins toy line
May 18, 2023: Pudgy Toys launch on Amazon - slick ad posted to Twitter
May 18, 2023: Pudgy World is announced as part of Pudgy Toys announcement
May 24, 2023: Pudgies announces partnership with NTFRK
May 26, 2023: 150 vinyl physicals called “Shark Pudgy” go on sale for $249. Sold out in under 10 seconds & currently selling for over $1,000 on eBay. Each comes with a code for exclusive Pudgy World items.
Moving forward: driving toward more content, Pudgy World, and revenue shares with holders
Pudgy World is a bet on social gaming, a digital future, and cute IP and it strikes us as incredibly well-positioned to capitalize on each of these trends. The big question for Pudgies is: can it ultimately build compelling enough stories or associations to transcend its web3 audience (still the primary, if not only, buyer of its toys) to create sustained, global appeal?
So how do Doodles 2 and Pudgy World Compare?