Sports apparel company Adidas has officially launched Originals: Into the Metaverse, a non-fungible token (NFT) collection in partnership with NFT collections Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), PUNKS Comic, and crypto influencer gmoney. A total of almost 30,000 NFTs will go on sale at a fixed price, with 20,000 available for early access sales to owners of the partner collections.
Whether NFTs have gone mainstream or not is still up for debate. However, it is undeniable that launching digital collections has become a trend among leading brands, and there’s a lot of buzz around it across industries.
For a while now, Adidas has positioned itself as a brand that welcomes and embraces innovation and makes an effort to keep up and be a part of pop culture. Considering its branding and the development of the NFT industry over the last couple of months, it would be plausible to expect Adidas to be at the forefront and provide a blueprint for how brands can use this digital tool for engagement.
However, its biggest rival, Nike made a massive move on Monday by purchasing NFT startup RTFKT, known for its digital sneakers and strong NFT community.
Brands don’t like taking risks. But if they never took a risk, they’d never try anything new.
“This is where people spend their time, how they want to express themselves and what’s going to force brands to act in ways that no one’s comfortable with yet, and it is already in our DNA to be a true collaborator brand,” said Erika Wykes-Sneyd – VP of Brand Communications, adidas Originals.
This week’s launch isn’t Adidas’s first one. There’s a question mark about whether Adidas’s initial launch in the sector was successful.
Last month the company attempted to market a mysterious collectible token that would redeem a reward in the future. Except what exactly was to be redeemable and when was not specified, leaving consumers confused and making some wonder if Adidas was rushing into NFTs to follow other brands.
On the other hand, The Originals collection, made available less than one month after Adidas’s first token outing, is much more on-brand. Furthermore, considering the reach and popularity of its partners, the launch puts Adidas in a very competitive position with brands that have more established projects in this space.
The initiative involves NFT collaborators that are moving the industry towards mainstream and pop culture, such as the Bored Apes trends and NFT influencers. In addition, the crossover between different collections in a single partnership enhances the idea of a cultural movement and puts Adidas at the forefront of it.
Owning an original NFT also grants access to exclusive merchandise drops and experiences in the metaverse.
Despite all the rhetoric around cultural shifts and power in the hands of creators and consumers alike, the initiative is rather exclusive. A little less than 10,000 NFTs are guaranteed to the public, compared to 20,000 for partner NFT owners. Features like these might make the industry appear less inclusive as opposed to trying to welcome as many people as possible.
Meanwhile, Animoca will launch a play-to-earn game with a Bored Ape. Both Universal Music and Timbaland studios have partnerships with Ape NFT owners for music groups in the metaverse.