The marketing world is rapidly changing. Over the past few years, we have seen brands of all kinds—all across the world—adopt the use of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Through the strategic use of NFTs, brands can significantly increase their brand value, reach a wider audience, and move closer to achieving their long-term goals.

A non-fungible token is a digital asset that, by definition, has an exclusive owner. We have recently seen many NFTs sell for millions of dollars, or even more—as a result, both business-facing and consumer-facing brands are looking for ways to enter into the lucrative NFT marketplace.

If your brand is currently interested in entering the competitive world of NFTs, you might be looking for some creative ways to get started. Though you will certainly want to develop a brand-specific campaign of your own, consider drawing inspiration from these successful NFT campaigns:

Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola­—generally considered the most recognizable brand in the world—recently made a splash in the NFT community with the introduction of brand-specific collectibles. The company created four unique collectibles, made accessible through the OpenSea platform. According to Coca-Cola, “We are excited to share our first NFTs with the metaverse, where new friendships are being forged in new ways in new worlds, and to support our longstanding friend and partner, Special Olympics International. Each NFT was created to celebrate elements that are core to the Coca-Cola brand, reinterpreted for a virtual world in new and exciting ways.”

Barbie

Barbie, created by toy and game manufacturer Mattel, recently collaborated with leading fashion brand Balmain to create a collaborative NFT debut. According to Mattel’s president and COO, “It’s a milestone, it’s the first NFT presentation that the Barbie brand has ever made.” Balmain’s CMO, Txampi Diz, expanded further, stating “I believe it (NFTs) is going to completely change the fashion industry, and it will have the same impact as when social media first started or when the internet first launched.” While this is not the first collaboration between a fashion brand and a toy manufacturer, it is the first that took place within the NFT community. Unsurprisingly, both brands are extremely excited and are hoping to collaborate in the future.

The National Basketball Association (NBA)

The NBA has consistently sought to expand its brand value by increasing connections with fans and by commodifying components of the game—naturally, the NBA’s push into the NFT space seemed to be the perfect fit. So far, the NBA has introduced several different types of NFTs, including lucrative “Top Shot” cards that allow fans to own their favorite moments of games. And the market is proving itself to be incredibly lucrative. Recently, a Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies) dunk sold for $475,000.

Asics

Asics, one of the leading brands for running shoes and related athletic equipment, launched a “Sunrise Red NFT Collection” designed to be a “celebration of sport and a first step in building a future where digital goods inspire physical activity.” In 2021, at the cost of 0.20 to 0.25 ETH, Asics offered a limited collection of digital merchandise with the hope of inspiring further engagement. Due to low supply and high demand, the company was able to generate nearly $1 million in sales.

Gucci

As one of the world’s most prestigious fashion brands, Gucci’s recent push into the world of NFTs has taken the digital world by storm. The project, dubbed Suppergucci, was described by the company as “A groundbreaking collaboration between Gucci and Superplastic, SUPERGUCCI is a three-part series of ultra-limited NFTs co-created by Gucci’s Creative Director Alessandro Michele and synthetic artists Janky & Guggimon.” Like the Gucci brand itself, the NFT series focused on boldness and exclusivity in order to generate hype.

Adidas

Through a collaboration with the Bored Ape Yacht Club, PUNKS Comic, and gmoney—all major players within this dynamic space—Adidas’s NFT debut was able to quickly sell out. Through the collaboration with these already-established NFT movers, Adidas was able to create a series of iconic digital avatars, donning Adidas (or ‘Adidas-like’) sports apparel. The movement helped increase brand exposure, increase product demand, and further establish Adidas as a forward-thinking global brand.

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz, one of the world’s most recognizable car brands, recently collaborated with five artists from the Art2People collective to “interpret the G-Class in their own style.” The exclusive NFTs were a hit—each offered a totally unique interpretation of the car brand and was quickly sold to the wider public. Mercedes is one of many car brands to recently make a push into this space. McLaren, KIA, and several others have also recently leveraged NFTs to increase the total value of their brands.

Why Does This Matter?

It’s clear that many of the world’s leading brands are making a push into the NFT space. But why, exactly, does this matter?

NFTs are the future of marketing—and we are sitting at the forefront of a new frontier. In the 1940s, the boldest brands of the era (like Bulova Watches) began investing in television commercials. At the time, those moves seemed beyond the mainstream, but eventually, TV commercials became a dominant form of advertising. In the 1990s, the boldest brands began investing in online advertising—that too eventually became a standard component of marketing. Today, the online ad market is worth about $400 billion per year. Now, we’ve reached a new era—for now, it is risk-tolerant brands that are making their way into the NFT marketplace. But, by tomorrow, these sorts of campaigns will become an essential component of every brand’s broader marketing strategy.