Jumping on the NFT bandwagon: How global brands are joining the trend
Celebrities and tech wizards aren’t the only ones intrigued by the NFT craze — prominent brands are integrating Web3 and NFTs into their marketing campaigns after realizing the potential that digital media has in the corporate arena. And the evolution of NFTs has made it possible for them to expand into virtual goods, collectibles, and other digital assets, thus making them just as much a part of the real world as the Metaverse.
Marketers have predicted that Web3 is the new social media, paving the way to increase customer loyalty, build brand recognition, and grow overall revenue. NFT technology can also be used by luxury brands for authenticating signature products for their premium clientele and providing security via digital trademarks on the blockchain.
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Marketers are already experimenting with NFTs to accomplish a wide array of goals - from driving brand awareness to…
Here are a few examples of renowned brands stepping up their marketing game using NFTs:
Coca-Cola: A digital cooler full of NFT goodies
In July 2021, the beverage corporation made a ripple in the market, announcing that they would be auctioning a series of four friendship-inspired NFTs with proceeds from the sale going to Special Olympics International. The Friendship Box (or “loot box”) was sold as a single asset and included a vintage Coca-Cola cooler NFT that contained the three other NFTs inside: a metallic red Coca-Cola bubble jacket to be worn in the Decentraland 3D virtual reality platform; a sound visualizer that recreates the unmistakable sounds of opening, pouring and enjoying a Coca-Cola; and a Coca-Cola friendship trading card with refreshed artwork from 1948. The collector who placed the winning bid of $575,883.61 also received a real-life, fully stocked Coca-Cola refrigerator.
Coca-Cola is quite famous for the various physical collectibles it has released over the years. The step into virtual tokens marks a new era for the company, and a chance to explore the digital expanse and create multi-sensory experiences.
Linktree: Creating a better platform for content creators
Unlike other brands, Linktree went a different way with its NFT integration. Instead of introducing an NFT collection of their own, they added features to their app that allowed creators to showcase their digital art to the community and monetize their talents. This merger was in association with Opensea, the largest NFT marketplace in the world.
Among the new features included was an NFT gallery link which allowed creators to display up to 6 of their NFTs by connecting their MetaMask wallets or including an OpenSea URL which visitors can click on to view and purchase NFTs. Similar to Twitter, creators will also be able to use their art as profile pictures or backgrounds; verified NFTs will be displayed in a hexagonal frame to set them apart from the other profile pictures or have a verified badge at the bottom of the Linktree in case of backgrounds. The platform also introduced an NFT lock feature that allows creators to lock their links using a smart contract address. Only users who own NFTs from a particular collection can unlock the link by connecting their wallets to prove ownership.
The goal here is to connect Web2 audiences to Web3 offerings through slow but steady integration which gives them a feel of how the virtual world works and to empower creators across the globe while doing so. Linktree has always been an online platform that supports artists of all scales, so this new release is sure to be a step in the right direction.
Budweiser: Supporting Upcoming Musical Talent
Budweiser’s NFT collection, Budweiser Royalty, partnered with emerging artists and NFT company VaynerNFT to release 11,000 NFTs for 22 artists (500 each) that varied in rarity and perks. 400 core NFTs included only the collectible, 99 rare tokens also included access to a virtual listening party on Discord with their favorite artist, and 1 ultra-rare token included both of the above as well as a video call with the artist. The tokens were randomly generated upon purchase, giving buyers the feel of a lottery.
Budweiser Royalty is the second NFT collection from the brand, after their first launch, The Heritage Collection, sold out almost instantly and went up for resale. The collection featured 1936 unique can designs, out of which 36 were gold versions of the core designs which gave owners access to exclusive perks and experiences. To add to this, holders of the Heritage collection were given early access to the Royalty collection.
Lamborghini: The Last Gas-Powered Aventador
While Lamborghini had already proved their mettle in the NFT arena by collaborating with artist Fabian Oefner on a set of 5 art pieces called ‘Space Time Memory’ earlier this year, their recent collaboration with Steve Aoki and Krista Kim holds a deeper significance. The ‘Lamborghini Ultimate’ paired the sale of its final motorized model of the Aventador LP 780–4 Ultimae Coupè with a special NFT, officially signaling their transition to hybrid and pure electric vehicles.
Krista Kim, artist and founder of Mars House, was responsible for creating the visual elements of the Aventador collectible while music producer Steve Aoki created a soundtrack that complemented the visuals and they both consulted on the customization of the physical Aventador as well. The auction of the ‘first supercar NFT’ was held by RM Sotheby’s in April and the winning collector received VIP benefits including a virtual meet and greet with Krista Kim and Steve Aoki, a private tour of the Museo Lamborghini, and exclusive previews of future limited edition Lamborghini models. Representatives of Lamborghini and INVNT Group, the brand storytelling agency that partnered on the NFT release, said that this was a big move in the fields of NFTs and automobiles.
MAC Cosmetics: Fighting HIV/AIDS via Philanthropy and Lipsticks
The cosmetics label’s first foray into NFTs is through their in-house foundation MAC Viva Glam, in collaboration with the Keith Haring Foundation, which aims to establish healthy futures and equal rights for youth living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. Fittingly, the launch was held on April 10, to commemorate National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
The collection included tokens in three tiers: Rare for 25$, Exclusive for 150$, and Icon for 1000$, with the higher-priced tokens coming with additional perks for buyers. Exclusive NFT owners got access to a Keith Haring Blue-inspired look with a digital face chart tutorial created by a MAC Senior Artist. Icon NFT owners received the complete set of three special-edition MAC Viva Glam x Keith Haring lipsticks, and a Keith Haring Yellow-inspired look with a digital face chart tutorial created by a MAC Senior Artist.
The brand stated that its goal was to increase awareness of the disease and destigmatize it while paying tribute to Keith Haring, an incomparable icon in the fight against HIV/AIDS, who expressed his activism through his art before his demise in 1990 at the age of 31. Furthermore, 100% of the primary sales from the collection go to the MAC Viva Glam fund, while 2.5% of the resales on OpenSea go to the Keith Haring Foundation. The brand also mentioned that the values shared by Haring and MAC were quite similar and that they were merely leveraging new technology to promote a cause that was always important to them.
Paris Hilton: Two Powerful Female Artists Unite
Earlier this year, socialite and hotel chain heiress Paris Hilton launched a series of autobiographical NFTs named “Paris: Past Lives, New Beginnings” on Origin Protocol along with Dayzee, an animated celebrity from the Superplastic universe. Hilton is also invested in Origin Protocol, acting as a shareholder and advisor to the company, which is an Ethereum-powered marketplace that aims to bring NFTs and DeFi to the general public. Paris also mentioned the launch on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon in January, as a way of teasing the launch.
These pieces represent over two decades of Paris’s journey in the public eye as well as the symbolic closing of one chapter of her life and moving on to the next, after her marriage to venture capitalist Carter Reum last year. She also wants to empower women and urge them to speak their truth through the message “The Truth Will Set You Free”, which features prominently in the NFT visuals and refers to her story of being an abuse survivor and advocate.
What’s next for brands looking to step into the realm of NFTs?
As with any investment, NFTs hold their own set of risks for marketing professionals. Being an extremely volatile decentralized asset, it could make it difficult for companies to start out in the NFT market. However, reports of successful ventures by popular companies and celebrities are giving more brands the courage to experiment with NFTs.