Italian luxury brand Dolce & Gabbana (D&G) collaborated with the inBetweeners NFT for its latest ‘drip’ collection launching on OpenSea. The inBetweeners NFTs were made famous by Justin Bieber using one of its bears as his profile picture.
The D&G drip collection involves 2000 NFTs featuring digital bears designed by Italian artist GianPiero D’Allesandro. D&G’s NFT partner UNXD is also involved.
Each NFT contains unique variations of one of the 21 inBetweener bear designs ‘dripped out’ in Dolce & Gabbana apparel. Additionally, every NFT is redeemable in 2023 for one of 21 physical garment designs from D&G.
In 2021, the UNXD luxury marketplace released D&G’s nine-piece genesis collection. Sold alongside physical elements, the collection generated close to $6 million in sales.
The standalone inBetweeners NFT collection consists of 10,777 digital bears on the Ethereum blockchain. Within two months of its release, the InBetweeners had generated over $18.6 million in transactions.
Celebrity NFT endorsements in the spotlight
The success of the InBetweeners is popularly attributed to an endorsement by Justin Bieber. With Bieber having previously worked with the NFT creator D’Allesandro, he actively marketed the digital bears on his online platforms. His current Twitter profile picture features the NFTs, and he has shown his public support for the project through posts on Instagram. Following his endorsement, there was a rapid increase in transactions for the NFT collection.
However, celebrity NFT endorsements are becoming riskier, with Justin Bieber being one of the named celebrities sued in a case against Yuga Labs, the company behind the Board Ape Yacht Club (BAYC). Yuga Labs framed the lawsuit as “opportunistic and parasitic.”
In contrast to the inBetweeners, BAYC was a cultural phenomenon that captured the imagination of the crypto community from the start. Its early success preceded celebrity endorsements, and its popularity resulted in landing a deal with music promoter Guy Oseary. From there, celebrity interest followed.
Arguably the BAYC route is more sustainable. Would the popularity of the inBetweeners decline if Bieber changed his profile pic? On the other hand, deals such as the one with D&G help the NFT collection to be less dependent on a single high-profile endorsement.