NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) have recently taken over the online and offline world. This article will look at some of the latest NFT collabs that are taking Chinese netizens by storm.
With cryptocurrency increasing in value, popularity, and awareness amongst the general population, NFTs have also entered mainstream culture. Brands from all industries and price ranges are now looking to integrate NFTs into their marketing campaigns to capture a younger audience base that they previously may not have reached.
Whether or not you are versed in the cryptocurrency space, there are a lot of key takeaways from recent big-name NFT collabs that all brands and marketers can learn and apply into their marketing strategies.
For example, NFTs are being marketed by businesses and popular influencers as a way for customers to show support and brand loyalty through purchasing their work. Consumers feel naturally inclined to flaunt their purchased NFT on social media as a sign of status and exclusivity. As a result, NFT purchases provide free advertising for the NFT producer.
This article will look at some notable NFT collabs that have garnered a lot of attention on Chinese social media, and identify the marketing strategies that helped popularize the collabs. This can be particularly useful for brands looking to improve their marketing strategies and reach a predominantly millennial and Gen Z demographic of consumer.
But before that, let’s quickly go over what NFTs are, and why they have been gaining traction.
What is an NFT?
Think of NFTs as unique, one-of-a-kind digital items that can’t be replaced with something else. Most NFTs are part of the Ethereum blockchain, but other blockchains such as Solana have also implemented their own NFTs. Transactions for NFTs require the exchange of cryptocurrency facilitated on NFT marketplaces such as OpenSea.
NFTs can be anything from music, art, to fashion. Social media has been flooded with users flaunting their NFT purchases, either through posts or changing their profile pictures. Given the intrinsic rarity of NFTs, you can think of NFTs as pieces of fine art that only you have ownership of.
Why Are NFTs Popular?
However, NFTs themselves do not possess intrinsic value. The market dictates whether an NFT is worth $1 to $10,000. So, an NFT’s monetary ‘value’ depends on a number of factors, such as:
- Who created the NFT?
- Does the NFT producer have a large following on social media? Are they backed by famous influencers/figures?
- Is the NFT itself visually compelling?
- How much marketing has been invested into popularizing the NFT?
- What incentives/perks does purchasing the NFT offer?
You’ll notice that the majority of popular NFTs floating around social media and mainstream culture tick the majority of these boxes.
NFTs in China
Despite the fact that cryptocurrency trading and mining is banned in China, Chinese NFTs themselves are legal and are operating in China. This is because Chinese NFTs disassociate themselves from the trading and use of popular cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum (which is banned in China).
For the rest of the world, NFT transactions, trading and exchanging are carried out via cryptocurrency. To circumvent the regulatory ban on cryptocurrency in China, companies are pricing their exclusive NFTs strictly in RMB, with transactions taking place on China’s popular non-crypto payment methods such as WeChat Pay and Alipay.
Whether Chinese NFTs can be considered authentic NFTs in its traditional definition is a debate that hasn’t bothered the majority of Chinese consumers and Chinese brands. One of the most important metrics that can determine an NFT collab’s success is the brand/persona behind the collab and the visual appeal of the NFT itself.
Popular NFT Collabs in China
Tech savvy Chinese millennials and Gen Zers are very much familiar and keep up-to-date with the latest NFT news and NFT collabs. Awareness towards NFTs has been further pronounced by the fact that notable Chinese businesses and influential figures have started dabbling within the NFT world.
As a result, their collaborations have influenced industries such as fashion and art, which are widely consumed by younger demographics. NFT Collabs have also greatly benefitted brands in diversifying their marketing campaigns to be more in-tune with current mainstream culture.
Li-Ning x Bored Ape Yacht Club
In April, Chinese sportswear company Li-Ning announced that they would be releasing a clothing line in collaboration with Bored Ape Yacht Club. In an attempt to enter the NFT marketplace and compete with the likes of Nike and Adidas (who have also launched NFT collaboration projects), Li-Ning partnered with one of the most popular NFT collections. The collection features prints of the Bored Ape Yacht Club #4102 on exclusive t-shirts and caps.
NFT fanatics who may not be able to afford or buy an actual Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT will be more than happy to support Li-Ning and Bored Ape Yacht Club by attempting to get their hands on one of the items from the collection.
In anticipation of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games that took place this winter, Chinese sportswear brand Anta released two NFT products that showcased the Chinese national team’s clothes. Each of the digital collections was limited to just 500 pieces.
Chinese brands such as Anta have noticed that perceptions of uniqueness and rarity can be leveraged to enhance products and generate hype.
Jay Chou’s PhantaBear
Jay Chou is an acclaimed Taiwanese musician and actor that played a significant role in growing Chinese popular music and elevating popular music in East Asia. As a result, it’s no surprise that Chou has immense popularity and influence on older and younger audiences.
At the start of this year, Jay Chou endorsed PhantaBear – an NFT series similar to the Bored Ape Yacht Club and Cryptopunk NFT series. Despite each NFT costing more than $1000 USD, The PhantaBear NFT series sold out their 10,000 NFTs in less than 40 minutes. Since then, the value of each NFT has increased by more than threefold.
PhantaBear’s affiliation and endorsement by Jay Chou, a revered musician in China, undoubtedly contributed towards raising brand awareness of the NFT series and generating publicity that surrounded the series. Moreover, PhantaBear also provided incentives for customers to purchase their NFT, offering buyers ticket access to virtual concerts and other special privileges to premium venues.
88rising x Coachella
88rising is a famous music company that promotes established and up-and-coming artists from Asia. In April, popular Asian musicians, such as Chinese singer and dancer Jackson Wang, represented 88rising and performed at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. 88rising’s presence on this year’s Coachella line-up raised eyebrows amongst avid online fans in Asia who were excited to watch their favourite artists perform on an international stage.
This year, Coachella teamed up with 88rising and launched their exclusive Head in the Clouds NFT, featuring visuals created by Curry Tian – a multidisciplinary filmmaker born and raised in China. Those in attendance of Coachella waiting to watch 88rising’s artists were inclined to purchase the NFT to support their favourite artists, as well as receive exclusive perks that would enhance their experience at the festival.
Whether or not the NFT world is relevant to your brand, there are lots of takeaways from the success of these NFT collabs that you can apply in your marketing campaigns, especially in China. Invest time in researching which figures/brands are trending on Chinese social media. This will indicate the types of KOLs that you should be trying to collaborate with, and the spaces you should enter to grow your audience base.
Contact Gab China for help on kickstarting your marketing campaign in China.