Do you think non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are a passing trend or are here to stay? And, what can adding them to your marketing plans mean for your brand?

The frenzy about NFTs might be a fad, or it might be the next big thing—really, it’s anyone’s best guess—but your brand should pay attention to it for two reasons. 

  1. A lot of money is exchanging hands in the NFT market right now. DappRadar, an NFT analytics company, reported that $10.7USD billion worth of NFTs was traded in Q3 2021. 
  2. Brands are jumping on the NFT/augmented reality (AR) bandwagon to promote their products and services. It helps that some of these NFTs are made for the metaverse, a trend that’s not going away any time soon.

If you’re considering dipping your brand’s toes into the NFT market, you might wonder if or how you could incorporate your Influencer Marketing strategy into that. We have examples of some brands that are riding the NFT train and are making revenue. More importantly, we’ll share take-aways and applications to the Influencer Marketing world.

What Are Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)?

NFT stands for “non-fungible token,” which is really just fancy talk for certificates of ownership of unique digital assets. Bidders bid to win NFTs so they can have bragging rights, just like a bidder at a real-life auction for a one-of-a-kind hot rod. Some winners of NFTs get to show them off in the metaverse, like “Parzival of Ready Play One” fame dressed as Buckaroo Bonzai. In this example, the NFT would be the suit.

Why Should Marketers Care About NFTs?

Brands should consider NFTs when developing their marketing plans for the following reasons:

  • We know that more and more consumers are ad-averse, especially Gen Zers and Millennials. Influencer marketing circumvents that. NFTs could be another way of connecting with consumers on more even, authentic footing.
  • Really, the charm of NFTs is their collectibility, which is often driven by scarcity. Ever had a line outside your store for a limited-run console, book, or sneaker? Picture that, only online.

The only thing that limits a brand’s possibilities is your imagination. Forbes says popular artists like Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande have already performed concerts in the Metaverse. NFT investor Andrew Lokenauth says, “The possibilities are endless and this is why brands are spending big.”

What Do NFTs Have to Do With the Metaverse?

Since the metaverse is still being built and non-fungible tokens are a relatively new thing, no standard definition exists yet of what NFTs look like in the metaverse. What we do know so far is that there are NFT marketplaces where NFTs can be traded. Additionally, there are NFT games and NFT games that include marketplaces. Those games, like Axie Infinity, deal not in dollars but in NFTs. And those games are played in the metaverse.

What Are Some Examples of Brands Successfully Exploring NFT Marketing?

Example 1: Under Armour

This digital shoe, designed by creative agency Berlin Cameron for Under Armour, commemorated the 3-point record set by Steph Curry in December 2021. It’s a replica of the shoe the basketball star and influencer (he has 15.7 million followers on Twitter) wore when he landed his 2,974th 3-pointer. It’s part of a collection of 2,974 digital copies being sold, with five unique versions offered. Buyers didn’t know which version they would get until they purchased their NFT. With it, they were able to dress their digital avatars with the footwear in any one of a number of metaverse platforms and marketplaces, including Decentraland, Gala Games, and OpenSea. One-hundred percent of the proceeds from the sales—valued at $333 a piece—went to charities focused on improving youth access to sports. 

Key Takeaway for Agencies and Brands

Say you’re a sportswear brand whose target market loves sports. They idolize star players, progressive teams, and leaders in the field. Your fans love seeing new records being set. They are primed for you to move them into the non-fungible token space, upping the ante a bit, and offering them another way to move along the buyer’s journey. If they love people like Steph Curry because of his skill; draw a parallel between that and the skill of the NFT digital artist, who is often an influencer too. Do your brand fans value progress? Give them a way to progress, like their favorite sports stars, in this new-ish playing field.

No matter what kind of brand or agency you are, zero in on what your target market values and draw parallels between those values and the expression of your brand’s values in the NFT space.

Example 2: Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola non-fungible token
Source: Coca-Cola

The iconic company Coca-Cola released a four-item NFT in July of 2021 that included:

  • An animated “Coca-Cola Bubble Jacket Wearable” to keep Decentraland players fashionable  
  • A “Friendship Card” inspired by their original 1940s artwork
  • A “Sound Visualizer” with drink sounds
  • A “Vintage Cooler NFT,” a digital retro vending machine

The winning bidder also won a real-life Coca-Cola refrigerator stocked with the soda. Organizers held an auction on International Friendship Day. Jeremiah Owyang of reported that the winner of the NFT paid $575,000, the equivalent of 41 fully-loaded Coca-Cola trucks worth of bottles. 

Josh Schwarber, global digital design senior director for Coca-Cola, said:

“The metaverse—which is borderless and ‘geo-less’—creates opportunities to connect with others like never before. We didn’t want to do this just to make an NFT. We wanted to inject the core principles of Coca-Cola and celebrate both our heritage and ties to friendship, while also doing something that hasn’t been done before. It was important to stay true to the brand by bringing people together through unique, surprise-and-delight moments of connection that feel right for Coke. And because NFTs are inherently built to be permanent and not transitory, we intentionally developed dynamic, ‘living’ NFTs that can be enjoyed again and again over time—just like Coca-Cola.” [source]

Key Takeaway for Brands or Agencies

No matter what your brand’s identity is, you can align it with a special day or event. Then, take advantage of the hype arounds those days or events. Also, because you know what scarcity does to the market, you can create scarcity of your own by working with a digital artist to create a unique, digital-only version of one of your products—say, a gold Pringles can or dishware that changes colors.

How Can Brands Incorporate NFTs in Influencer Marketing Campaigns?

Even though non-fungible tokens are relatively new, influencers in that space already abound. What’s more is that they don’t just influence NFT markets and games. They’ve built substantial followings on social media. For example, NFT influencer Max Maher has 701,000 subscribers on YouTube, or @RealMissNFT has 114,600 followers on Twitter. Influencers in the NFT space tend to be either:

  • Experts in NFTs, blockchain, which is the technology that powers it, and/or cryptocurrency
  • Digital artists

An Influencer Marketing campaign with one or more of these power influencers could, theoretically, run much the same way as campaigns with any other type of influencer. Can you say NFT/Influencer Marketing combination campaign with Instagram influencer @bosslogic (2.2 million followers), Twitter influencer Faroukh (151,100 followers), and YouTube influencer Max Maher? Win-win-win!

Working with a digital artist influencer means you not only get a scarce, limited-edition digital art piece for comparatively minimal investment but also you establish a relationship with an influencer knowledgeable in that space who can help you navigate it. That influencer helps you get the word out about your NFT project and you bring in revenue from digital product sales.

Don’t let your imagination stop there! While some non-fungible tokens are both virtual and physical, most are purely virtual, like characters/avatars in Axie Infinity. They build influence by becoming experts in the game. A partnership with them could mean dressing them up in a branded jersey that others can buy as NFTs of their own. Or, the avatar of one of your foodie influencers could “cook” with your NFT dishware.

Wrapping It Up

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) represent an exciting frontier similar to that of Influencer Marketing. Brands like Under Armour and Coca-Cola are generating buzz and creating new revenue streams with NFTs. With consumers getting more ad-averse and spending much more time online these days, and platforms like Facebook/Meta investing so much in the metaverse, it pays to pay attention to not only what those brands are doing, but also others like Taco Bell and Mattel. Imagine the possibilities for taking your Influencer Marketing strategy to the next level with NFTs!


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