NFTs and Big Brands: Exploring new possibilities
The surge in popularity of NFTs, which are unique digital tokens that cannot be replicated, has recently captured the attention of notable corporations. Big names such as Marvel (a subsidiary of Disney), Coca-Cola, Gucci, Pizza Hut, KFC, Taco Bell, Lamborghini, and Hot Wheels (which is owned by Mattel) have joined the frenzy by delving into novel ways of integrating NFTs into their advertising schemes. Consequently, there has been a surge of fervor and anticipation amongst the masses, with many enthusiasts itching to partake in this latest trend.
The value that the big brands bring to the table is tremendous, and this is the same topic that I presented at NFT NYC in April 2023- “Think Bigger In The Next NFT Summer”. The big brand will take the lead. They are utilizing the distinctive properties of NFTs to enhance customer interactions and experiences, boost brand recognition, stimulate purchases, and promote diverse campaigns.
They generate and vend NFTs, providing patrons with exclusive and distinctive digital items like virtual collectibles, artwork, and experiences. These NFTs are singular and unrepeatable, thus giving them a high intrinsic value that’s coveted by consumers. I will walk you through some examples.
Starbucks has entered the cryptocurrency world with a new rewards program named Starbucks Odyssey, developed using the Ethereum scaling network Polygon. This program offers customers an exciting opportunity to acquire and earn collectible non-fungible token (NFT) stamps that can be used for various purposes. Starbucks chose Polygon over other blockchains because of its “proof-of-stake” blockchain technology, which consumes less energy than first-generation “proof-of-work” blockchains.
The demand for Starbucks Odyssey has been unprecedented and garnered an overwhelming response from the initial beta testers. Since Starbucks Odyssey’s beta launch in December 2022, its stamp NFTs have garnered a remarkable 360 total sales, amassing over $143,000 in total sales on the official secondary marketplace of Nifty Gateway. Starbucks has partnered with Polygon to evaluate Web3’s potential in influencing brand loyalty, and the results are eagerly awaited.
Gucci has entered the world of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) with its first offering, “Aria.” This NFT is a four-minute video clip inspired by Gucci’s recent Aria collection and features the creative director Alessandro Michele’s runway presentation. The video showcases a surreal, post-COVID clubbing experience, which makes it a unique and exciting piece. The NFT was auctioned at Christie’s as part of a sale titled “PROOF OF SOVEREIGNTY: A Curated NFT Sale,” with all proceeds donated to UNICEF USA to support UNICEF’s role in COVAX. Gucci also collaborated with SuperRare to create an NFT marketplace called Vault Art Space, which features collectible fragments of the brand’s heritage.
Additionally, Gucci collaborated with Superplastic to create a limited series of NFTs called “SUPERGUCCI,” which Alessandro Michele and synthetic artists Janky & Guggimon co-created. The first drop incorporates House codes found in the Gucci Aria collection, while the second drop spotlights Guggimon embellished with the Gucci Love Parade. These collaborations showcase Gucci’s dedication to the world of NFTs and its commitment to exploring new possibilities in the digital space.
Porsche has been exploring the world of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) since 2021. This journey began with an auction in August 2021, where a design sketch by chief exterior designer Peter Varga was sold as an NFT for a significant amount. Recently, Porsche introduced a collection of 7,500 NFTs, allowing owners to co-create their digital artwork.
The NFT collection features a white Porsche 911 Carrera with a personalized license plate that can be customized to reflect the owner’s personality. Porsche’s foray into NFTs aligns with its commitment to co-creation and community as it seeks to merge the physical and digital worlds. Porsche continues to explore the potential of NFTs and their role in creating unique and innovative customer experiences.
Red Bull Racing
Red Bull Racing has vigorously explored the vast possibilities of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and blockchain technology. Through strategic partnerships with notable companies such as Oracle, Bybit, and Azuki, the team has rolled out an impressive array of limited-edition NFT collections. One of the most recent and sensational NFT collections released by Red Bull Racing is the Lei the Lightning Azuki, featuring a vivacious young racer in the Azuki universe with an unwavering aspiration to become an F1 driver. The NFT is conveniently available through Bybit’s NFT marketplace.
Adding more spice to their collection, the team has also released a bunch of limited edition NFTs of the RB16B, the iconic 2021 F1 car driven by the incredible Sergio “Checo” Perez, decorated with his signature livery. In addition to releasing NFT collections, Red Bull Racing has creatively pioneered NFT auctions during F1 race weekends.
One such auction was held during the electrifying Monaco Grand Prix weekend, where the highest bidder received a remarkable digital version of a one-of-a-kind Playseat simulator rig, alongside the rights to claim a physical version of the rig. This groundbreaking move has created a buzz and is the first time a blue-chip NFT finds its way onto an F1 race car.
The active involvement of these big brands in the fascinating world of NFTs is undoubtedly a sight to behold.
Big Brands Working with Generative Artists
The narrative of big brands giving away a PFP (Profile Picture NFT) was a craze last year. Then twin NFT, which represents a digital twin, or virtual replica, of a physical object, helps to connect the Web2 folks to Web3 is a widely used concept. I even got my digital twin NFT.NYC tickets. But increasing, I see that big brands are working with generative artists to create centerpieces for their storefronts, wrapping paper to new product lines.
Generative art is a fascinating field that has recently captured the attention of prominent brands. Many companies are exploring how generative art can be used to create unique and imaginative experiences for their customers. Here are some examples of generative artists collaborating with big brands:
Adidas has collaborated with generative artist Joshua Davis to create a unique line of sneakers. Davis used code to create an algorithm that generated millions of different shoe design options. The resulting designs were then printed on the sneakers using a digital printing process. This collaboration demonstrates how generative art can be used to create personalized and customized products for customers.
Generative artist Refik Anadol has worked with major tech companies like Google and Microsoft to create immersive installations that use AI and machine learning to analyze and interpret large data sets. Anadol’s work explores the intersection of technology and art. His collaborations with big brands demonstrate how generative art can create cutting-edge experiences that push the boundaries of creativity and innovation.
Generative artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer has worked with brands like BMW and Samsung to create interactive installations that engage audiences and promote brand awareness. His work often uses technology and data to create unique experiences that blur the line between art and advertising. Lozano-Hemmer’s collaborations with big brands demonstrate how generative art can create memorable and impactful experiences that connect with audiences in new and innovative ways.
A leading international gallery, Pace hosted an exhibition, QQL: Analogs, featuring generative artist Tyler Hobbs’ innovative works. This groundbreaking exhibition showcased 12 large-scale paintings based on Hobbs’ QQL algorithm. Visitors immersed themselves in the creative fusion of technology and art as the paintings were crafted using traditional techniques and robotic tools. Coinciding with the physical exhibition, for the very first time, Pace presented a metaverse gallery in collaboration with AOI.
This unique event highlighted the importance of generative art and the convergence of the digital and physical art worlds. I spoke to Tyler Hobbs, who said, “How can you work more humanly with the computer and the machine? And when you work by hand, take a more mechanical approach to work procedurally?” This statement got me thinking. Perhaps this is a new way and approach to looking at digital art. This is a very forward-thinking statement to many, and I believe it sets the right tone moving forward.
These examples demonstrate how generative artists collaborate with big brands to create imaginative experiences that engage audiences and promote brand awareness. By incorporating generative art into their designs, companies can create personalized and customized products, transform retail spaces into dynamic environments, and create immersive installations that push the boundaries of creativity and innovation.
Benefits of NFTs for Big Brands
The use of NFTs by big brands has been increasing in popularity to enhance their customer interactions. NFTs allow brands to create unique digital assets, which can be used to offer exclusive experiences or access to products or events. This can create a stronger bond between the brand and its customers, increasing brand loyalty.
It is also an effective way of increasing brand awareness. By creating limited edition or unique digital assets, brands can create exclusivity, generating buzz and excitement amongst customers. This can lead to increased engagement with the brand, as customers are more likely to want to interact with and purchase the NFTs before they run out.
One of the main benefits of using NFTs is the ability to promote marketing campaigns more engagingly. By creating interactive experiences through NFTs, brands can allow customers to participate in campaigns in a more immersive way. This can increase sales, as customers are more likely to purchase when they feel part of a campaign.
Some brands are using NFTs to offer collectible items for sale. These can be anything from designer eyewear to fast-food dishes. By creating unique and valuable digital collectibles, brands can provide customers with a new type of product, which can create a new revenue stream for the brand. Customers can also own a unique and valuable digital asset associated with the brand, enhancing their perception of the brand and increasing loyalty.
Potential Long-Term Value of NFT
Some consumer groups complain that big brands are trying to pull a fast cash grab on their fans. I do not think that the big brands are merely looking just using NFTs to make quick sales. They also realize the potential long-term value of these unique digital tokens, which is reflected in their stock prices and overall worth. These companies are embracing NFTs and exploring fresh ways to harness their one-of-a-kind properties, enabling them to position themselves for future growth and success.
These brands are gaining an edge in the cut-throat marketplace by taking a forward-thinking approach. They understand NFTs can create novel revenue streams, cultivate brand loyalty, and spur innovation. This proactive attitude toward emerging technologies draws investors who perceive the potential for future value creation.
The adoption of NFTs by big brands is not only profitable for the companies themselves but also for their shareholders. By investing in these visionary companies, shareholders can reap the benefits of future growth and success. NFTs are a strategic asset for these big brands as they leverage this innovative technology to create fresh growth and value-creation opportunities.
The emergence of big brands into the NFT arena has caused a stir in the market, and rightly so. It hints at the growing acceptance and recognition of NFTs as a lucrative tool for generating new revenue streams. This infusion of capital from big players in the industry is likely to spur the development of more creative and original NFT offerings, leading to increased brand engagement and community involvement.
Although there are still a few bumps to iron out, such as integrating sales models in virtual worlds, the market is anticipated to become more sophisticated. Metaverse could be the bridge to what we expect.
Like my friend AOI would say:
“It’s time we bring technology to the arts in a meaningful and immersive way. The metaverse should enhance the digital art experience.” As these obstacles are gradually resolved, it will become more straightforward to create and sell NFTs seamlessly and efficiently.
Another element that could contribute to the growth of the NFT market is the projected bull run in the crypto industry. During these periods of high market activity, cryptocurrencies, and blockchain technology tend to pique the interest and attention of investors. Consequently, it is highly plausible that the NFT market will experience substantial growth during the next bull run, attracting even more investment and attention from big brands and individuals alike.
In conclusion, the entrance of big brands into the NFT arena is a positive sign for the market, indicating increasing adoption and mainstream acceptance. As the market matures and gains more traction, we can look forward to more ingenious use cases and innovative applications of NFTs, leading to a more dynamic and vibrant ecosystem.
Ending off with the usual Anndy Lian quote:
“Your new asset is in the digital world. NFT is the new asset.”