Into the metaverse, one NFT at a time. Or 30,000. Last week, Adidas’ foray into Web 3 with 30,000 NFTs in collaboration with Bored Apes Yacht Club and Punk Comics generated a huge response and sold out at a value of US $ 23 million in a day. Adidas has smartly saved a few NFTs for its next round. Adidas rode on the Bored Apes franchise (one of the NFT partners) which already has a huge following. If you had bought one of the Apes early on, your return on investment would have been formidable.
Rival brand Nike has announced mega plans for its own entry into the metaverse, including being able to own virtual sneakers. Sneakers are already collectibles in the physical world, so imagine what will happen in the virtual world!
One year ago, Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) were just new words. Three months ago, even the word metaverse was new. The cognoscenti and the media may have been talking about these terms, art collectors may have decided to plunge in, but now brands are co-opting them. It is still the early adopters among brands, but as global brands link offers to NFTs, it is important to see if these are just ways of garnering a huge amount of earned media or whether this will be an essential part of a mainstream strategy. It could be one way of rewarding loyal consumers who may want to be part of the NFT buzz, but are not sure where to begin. A trusted brand is a good starting point. It could be a way of attracting and keeping young zoomers in your brand fold. Whatever it is, brands want to be in on this trend.
ADD TO COLLECTIBLES
Beauty brand Clinique linked NFTs to a classic, old-fashioned contest. You could win a Clinique logo NFT – one for their popular Moisture Surge and one for the cult Black lipstick, but for that you had to be part of the brand's Smart Rewards programme. Once you signed up, you would need to post on Instagram and TikTok using all their contest hashtags. The best would be selected and then winners picked from this pool by the brand’s ambassador. The winner would then get one of the NFTs, and free merchandise once a year for 10 years. These are the broad strokes of the contest, but smart Clinique may well have made their logo a collectible and ensured a new fan following. For the winners, there was the added surety of physical merchandise which, over 10 years, adds up to a neat sum in value.
The most recent one I read was an invitation to the Chakraverse- NFTs featuring Chakra the Invincible. Chakra is an Indian superhero created by Spiderman creator Stan Lee and Sharad Devrajan for the Indian market in 2012. Chakra’s unique powers lie in the fact that his chakras get activated to take on the baddies. Kids who watched him 10 years ago are probably ready to walk down memory lane and I am sure the NFTs will become collectibles. There are 6885 to choose from, starting from $ 25 to $ 1,000. The loot box may still be open when this column is published.
WHOSE NFT NEXT?
Fashion, beauty and sport have been quick to latch on to the trend. But while an NFT is an entry point, it is still a phygital play. Most of the NFT-linked brand connects translate into either clothing you can wear, make-up you can use, a comic you can read or watch, something at the store or an entry to a preview or preferred shoppers’ club. The NFT can keep appreciating somewhere in Web 3. Or crashing as the case may be.
It’s interesting to speculate who will have an NFT next. I can see it happening with food, hotels, travel and tourism and cars. Eventually, an NFT is only one of the ways to build your brand loyalty and to be used smartly with other stuff in your arsenal. When we were kids, there were Binaca animals to be collected and traded, the next generation had McDonald’s Happy Meal toys to collect and exchange, this generation has NFTs. Things haven’t changed as much as we think in the metaverse!
(Geeta Rao has been Regional Creative Director, Ogilvy and has devoted many column inches and years to advertising and brands.)
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