Supreme made their claim to fame by creating limited runs of their designs with the now iconic red and white logo. Being able to grab one of the latest drops in their collection, gave you bragging rights of the highest order, and that’s what makes their brand one of the hottest out there.
Now imagine if there was a way to get your hands on the actual screen that was used to print the first Supreme logo on a t-shirt. How much do you think someone would pay for that right now? If people are willing to pay over $200 for a clay brick with a Supreme logo on it, there’s probably loads of people who would pay thousands, if not millions of dollars, to get their hands on that screen.
Seriously?! $69 million for an NFT?
That kind of hype is making its way into the digital world, which is starting to open up a whole new avenue of income for anybody in the creative space. Recently, you may have seen news that a digital artist named, Beeple, sold a high resolution image – which showed thumbnails of the 3D artwork he’s created over the course of 14 years – for a whopping $69 million on Christie’s.
When you read or heard about that you might have thought to yourself, “Wow, that’s crazy. Why would anyone spend that much money for a digital piece of artwork they could just screen cap themselves and enjoy at their leisure?” The answer is largely, for the same reason people probably bought that Supreme brick…bragging rights. NFTs, in general, are usually released in limited quantities, so being able to get ownership of one, is extremely attractive.
Ok, so what exactly is an NFT?
NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) are digital files that are linked to a digital blockchain. This blockchain is what holds a person’s proof of ownership, which is extremely secure to the point that manipulation and hacking is supposed to be almost impossible. Because of that, it’s easy to prove that you own a specific NFT, and therefore, gives you the bragging rights you’re looking for. Also, because the blockchain is public, anyone can verify your ownership by simply looking it up online.
Sure, anybody can simply take a screenshot of an NFT they see on their monitor, but you’ll own the original file that was made by the creator. I mean, you could put a replica of a Van Gogh painting up on your wall, but it’s definitely not the same as having the canvas he personally put brushstrokes on. The only difference here is that a Van Gogh original is tangible and a Beeple image isn’t.
Big names are buying in.
If you’re feeling that NFTs just sound like a new gimmick, though, allow me to point you to “His Airness.” When arguably the greatest athlete ever gets in on something, it’s time to pay attention. Michael Jordan recently joined in on a $305 million dollar investment round for the NFT platform, NBA Top Shot – which gives users the ability to buy ownership of an NBA player’s highlights (known as ‘moments’). That alone should open people’s eyes up to the serious potential that NFTs have for ROI.
I’m guessing that besides the obvious link to basketball, what really interested him was the exciting possibilities for giving NFTs functionality. This is actually the most exciting part of the movement. Because the blockchain shows proof of ownership, it’s great way to add incentives to the purchase of these digital treasures, and that’s what gives them their real added value. Let’s have some fun and imagine the possibilities.
An exciting way to market.
As an investor in NBA Top Shot and owner of the Charlotte Hornets, Jordan could decide to have his marketing department run a promotion that would reward people who own an NBA Top Shot moment of each Hornets player on the team with courtside seats at a game. To create even more buzz ( no pun intended ) they could even do a yearly random drawing using the names of these same NFT owners and give out season tickets to the winners. That should get a few Hornets fans interested enough to invest in some NFTs.
Remember Gidget, the “Taco Bell Chihuahua.” I mean who didn’t love those commercials from the 90s? Let’s say that Taco Bell had a special 3D model of this old school mascot made for a promotion. They could then turn that into a rare NFT, that would give the owners FREE TACOS once a month, for a lifetime. Not only would a limited run of something like that get people wanting one because it’s nostalgic, but it would also get people wanting one for the added benefit of getting free tacos. Sound extreme? Let’s raise the stakes even higher.
Imagine Disney, owner of some of the most valuable IPs in entertainment, decided to do an extremely limited release of NFTs related to their most popular characters. To sweeten their value, they could decide that the owners of those rare NFTs will get free unlimited lifetime access to every one of their theme parks all year-round. Now that’s marketing magic! Not only would that instantly be the most talked about promotion, but it would also be one of the most sought after, most talked about, and most valuable NFTs in existence. And, if they were ever resold on the secondary market, their value would instantly skyrocket.
Imagining new opportunities for decorators and distributors.
Right now, you might be thinking, what does this have to do with me? Well, it’s very possible that using NFTs for promotional purposes could become the norm in future. If you think about how much time we spend on our phones and in the digital world, it makes sense that we could be seeing birth of a new kind of marketing. The same way we enjoy looking at pictures and watching movies on our phones, we could easily enjoy looking at collectible NFTs, especially if they come with added benefits.
Instead of just reaching out to suppliers and decorators for apparel, mugs, pens, and usb drives, you might also find yourself reaching out to digital artists, so they can design NFTs for your top client’s. Promo distributors could even end up adding pre-made or customized NFTs to their offering, and give their clients a promotion people will never forget.
For decorators, it could be an opportunity to monetize the files used to create people’s favorites t-shirt designs, and create promotions around them, adding an extra stream of income for their business that never before existed. Think back to that Supreme example. It’s possible that if collecting NFTs become the norm, people would be willing to pay up if they could get ahold of the digital files used to print the designs they love.
Apparel designers could also get in on the action by releasing limited edition NFTs alongside their fresh new lines, to build up more hype for their brand, and then grant the owners of those files special VIP access to drops in the future. The possibilities are really endless, and that’s what makes this movement so exciting.
The birth of a new normal?
Right now, we’re witnessing the birth of not just a new way of collecting, but also a new form of promoting. No one is really sure how popular NFTs will end up becoming, but lots of big names and big companies are buying into the hype. It’s possible that even if NFTs do blowup and become the norm, they will have very little impact, if at all, on decorators and distributors. But, it’s definitely much more fun to dream of the opportunities that could be there waiting for us in the future.