Marketing Gold: WGC Using Fresh Ideas to Reach New Investors

Gold Investing
a variety of gold bars on a black table

The World Gold Council is working to make gold more accessible through various initiatives, including witty commercials.

The popularity of digital assets has reached a fever pitch in the last two years, attracting curious investors.

But in the background, gold, the original store of wealth, has launched a PR campaign of its own. The World Gold Council (WGC) has committed itself to educating the next generation of investors on the benefits of holding the yellow metal.

Using a contemporary advertising strategy featuring the fictional Auburn family, short explanatory commercials about gold investment have flooded the airwaves, an initiative that David Tait, CEO of the WGC, is proud of.

Watch one of the WGC's Auburn family commercials.

“First thing is, I'm glad you've seen it,” said Tait during an interview at the Gold Forums America event, held in Colorado.

“The reason behind it, big picture, is to inform and also give people a sense of confidence that there is a place they can turn to be educated and understand everything there is to know about gold," he said.

The CEO, who joined the WGC in 2019, explained that part of the motivation for the popular gold campaign was to respond to the "drop gold" advertisements that Grayscale Investments put out in 2019.

The Grayscale commercials urged investors to “drop gold” and switch to digital assets, Bitcoin in particular.

Watch Grayscale's "drop gold" commercial.

Since November 2021, Bitcoin has declined in value by 74 percent, dropping precipitously from US$64,400 to US$16,536. In contrast, gold has shed only 4.9 percent over that same period.

Underscoring gold’s long-term investment value, the WGC ads are targeted at a broader audience than the group usually aims for.

“The most recent efforts that you've seen — the family dinner table one — it's an attempt to appeal to all sections of society, not just high-net-worth investors and institutions, but the 'you and me' of the world, to get them to understand gold,” Tait said.

In addition to the commercials, the WGC has also produced a documentary short series called “The Golden Thread.” It examines gold’s historical, cultural, financial and current relevance.

“On top of that, there's going to be another documentary series which is going to be probably more oriented towards the socioeconomic good a mine does,” Tait told the Investing News Network. “And I understand that would raise eyebrows with some people, but at the same time, it's an untold story.”

WGC tackling digital gold, fighting against child labor

Aside from commercials and documentaries, the WGC offers a deep repository of gold information and provides industry-wide standards across the sector, ranging from mining to accounting.

For Tait, the WGC's Responsible Gold Investment Principles are of particular importance in “changing the perceptions and educating people on how they buy (gold)," as well as giving the industry a code of conduct. The seven principles act as a guide for gold providers and help retail investors identify “trustworthy” gold suppliers.

“(We’re) just trying to reform (the industry) to a point where all those barriers of going online and looking for gold are stripped away,” Tait said. “And then the institutional barriers of trying to buy and invest in gold are stripped away.”

In order to erase obstacles to traditional gold investment, the WGC is embarking on one of its most ambitious projects to date: The Gold 247 initiative lays out a framework for the digitization of gold.

“It's going to be fully redeemable, right down to the nth degree, and it's going to be fractionalized,” Tait said of digital gold. “It will be literally a representation of gold which you can walk into any place in the world and redeem should you want to.”

The WGC's first step to digital gold was the March launch of the Gold Bar Integrity Program. In conjunction with the London Bullion Market Association, the gold database sets up an “international system of gold bar integrity, chain of custody and provenance.”

“Imagine a situation where you have this database, you digitalize on top of it, you create an ecosystem — a bulletproof, immutable ecosystem, with gatekeepers to this ecosystem that can be trusted,” Tait explained. “And I go tell the world that the only gold you ever want to buy is the gold from this ecosystem. Eventually, the gold outside the ecosystem is going to start to sweat.”

For Tait, digitization will help remove investment barriers to gold, while also building a firewall to keep out the unscrupulous.

“Ultimately, my goal is to squeeze out the nefarious practises that exist outside (the market), and also to squeeze all forms of child exploitation out of any mine,” Tait said. “Because we have an opportunity to do it, we have an obligation to do it, “ he continued. “It's not the dry economic story that you're probably confronted with every day. This is something meaningful.”

The eradication of child labor in the gold sector is Tait’s passion project and something he believes is “very doable.”

“If I can find a way of squeezing that out of the market before I drop dead, I'd be very proud of it,” he said.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Georgia Williams, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.


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