NFTs boom as e.l.f. Cosmetics, CNN, Stella Artois and more brands join the fray
A flurry of brands, from e.l.f. Cosmetics to CNN, this week are starting to sell their own NFTs, the non-fungible tokens stored on a blockchain that can never be duplicated.
In March brands began experimenting with NFTs, and since then, interest has not slowed. If anything, brands are getting more creative as they look to NFTs for promotional opportunities, ways to preserve their intellectual property and perhaps even drive revenue. Those hopping on the bandwagon now are taking advantage of new accessibility options available, such as allowing people to purchase NFTs using their credit cards, as well as the emergence of more environmentally-friendly blockchains. Since initial interest spiked with NFTs, brands have also found the time to develop their own platforms so they can own the consumer relationship and rake in more revenue.
There are signs that the NFT bubble might be bursting, however. NFT sales went from $176 million in May to $8.7 million by June 15, as reported by CNBC. Nonetheless, brands are bullish that consumers are just starting to learn about NFTs and will continue to take interest in digital collectibles. Success stories, like NBA’s Top Shot platform, which has generated over $230 million in gross sales on videos of NBA highlights being sold as NFTs in the same vein as trading cards, are also driving hopeful NFT newbies.
“There’s certainly a small community of crypto fans very into the space, but we’re seeing that expand quickly, which is why this is an exciting opportunity for brands because consumers are increasingly knowledgeable and excited about NFTs,” says Evan Horowitz, CEO of creative agency Movers+Shakers, which is working with e.l.f. Cosmetics on its new line of NFTs. “One of the things NFTs do is enable fans to have a deeper level of fandom and connection with brands.”
Here's a look at a few.
e.l.f. Cosmetics launches #CryptoCosmetics Collection
e.l.f. Cosmetics’ NFT push is centered around making the digital collectibles available for those new to crypto. The beauty brand announced that it will launch a series of digital NFTs as part of what its calling its #CryptoCosmetics Collection, which has quite a nice ring to it. E.l.f. has even trademarked the term. The first drop include three of the brand’s best-selling products—the Poreless Putty Primer, Camo Concealer and the Ride or Die Lip Balm—dipped in gold (digitally of course) and sold as “Ne.l.f.Ts,” with only nine available at launch. They are going on sale on Friday at 11 a.m. PT for $5-$9, the same amount they would go for in-store. To get the word out, e.l.f. is partnering with beauty and crypto influencers like @glamzilla and @trevor.j.barrett across platforms like TikTok and Instagram.
The beauty brand is selling the NFTs on crypto platform Bitski, which Horowitz call the eBay for NFTs. “The crypto world is new and can be complex for people who are uninitiated. We chose to partner with Bitski because they have really democratized buying and selling NFTs,” he says. Instead of having to own Ethereum, the cryptocurrency most NFTs are bought with, consumers can use their own credit cards to buy NFTs through the platform, making prerequisite knowledge unnecessary. On the backend, the NFTs are still being bought on the blockchain with Ethereum, so they retain the same exclusivity and legitimacy. E.l.f. is also working with Aerial, a sustainability platform that tracks emissions and reduces carbon footprints across NFTs.
CNN’s turns archives into NFTs
Following Fox’s creation of its own NFT platform Blockchain Creative Labs, CNN announced that it will do the same. The WarnerMedia-owned cable news channel is launching its own NFT platform called “Vault by CNN: Moments That Changed Us.” At vault.cnn.com, CNN fans can find digital collectibles representing moments from CNN coverage over its 41-year history. Each digital “Moment” is minted as an NFT and will start being sold in late June. For the initial launch, CNN is releasing six weekly drops. The exact “Moments” on sale are not being shared yet, but the company says they could include coverage from CNN exclusives, world history, space travel, notable firsts and presidential elections (although some might not want to relive all of those).
Buyers of these NFTs will be able to showcase their ownership on user pages in the Vault. CNN says it is also working with a third party company to create physical versions of NFTs for certain sets. Like the e.l.f. products, CNN’s NFTs will be able to be bought through the use of a credit card through Stripe, making the path to purchase that much easier for mass adoption, although users will be required to create an account with digital wallet Blocto to make transactions. The effort uses the Flow blockchain, which is more environmentally conscious since the cost comes from stakeholders and not from hardware and electricity, says CNN.
Stella Artois horse racing NFT experience
AB InBev beer brand Stella Artois is leaning into the growing digital NFT horse-race metaverse phenomenon with a branded experience. Called “Racing in the Life Artois,” the project is a partnership with digital horse-racing platform Zed Run where participants will be able to bid on one of 50 Genesis digital racehorse NFTs, sold at 10 horses per day. The winner of the race will receive a collection of three NFTs, including Stella Artois art, one Genesis racehorse NFT and one branded skin. The first skins for the game will be sold on June 15, with five auctions taking place until the race launch on June 19. It can be a pricey endeavor for some consumers. The New York Times found players have sold a stable of racehorses for up to $252,000.
“At Stella Artois, we see immense value in NFTs and how it’s evolved collecting art digitally,” said Lara Krug, VP of marketing at Stella Artois. “As a brand that is consumer first and synonymous with art, NFTs and our beer make for the perfect pairing for our drinkers who are equally as invested in the space.
Burberry’s game-focused NFT
British fashion brand Burberry is delving into NFTs for the first time through gaming. On Tuesday, the brand announced a partnership with gaming company Mythical Games at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles for a limited-edition NFT toy appearing in the multiplayer game Blankos Block Party which players can collect, upgrade and sell. The toy, which has not been revealed yet, is set to launch in July and marks the first time the gaming platform is partnering with a luxury brand.
“This is our first exploration into the world of NFTs, unlocking an entire new platform of possibilities, empowering digital natives and gamers to own a piece of our brand and to actively engage and participate with our house codes,” said Burberry Chief Marketing Officer Rod Manley.
Porsche’s own NFT trading card platform
German carmaker Porsche has seen the success of the NBA’s Top Shot trading card platform and is now launching its own. With Fanzone, created through the company’s innovation startup Forward 31, users are now able to purchase and trade digital cards, starting with a partnership with the German Football Association (DFB) for the women’s and men’s national teams. Visitors to Fanzone can compete for soccer trading cards of their favorite players in fantasy games or in individual trades. Porsche expects to expand the offering to other sports institutions in the future.
"The demand for classic trading cards and albums has been unbroken for decades," says Christian Knörle, head of company building at Porsche Digital in a blog post on Monday. "With Fanzone, we are now digitizing this promising market.”