The Prada NFT Campaign Becomes a Phygital Force

Prada NFT

Luxury goods manufacturers are rushing to embrace the world of the “phygital”— launching sales campaigns, like the Prada NFT campaign, that give sophisticated consumers the opportunity to purchase physical merchandise complemented by digital assets. Recently, elite Italian fashion brand Prada engineered an exceptionally effective phygital sales campaign, where the first one-hundred buyers of an exclusive unisex shirt were airdropped NFTs. 

Prada has increasingly based their marketing strategy around Web3 and the metaverse, gifting NFTs to buyers of IRL clothes and throwing high-brow parties and fashion shows in the metaverse. A few months ago, they spun up a new Discord server, Prada Crypted, to better engage with their Web3-savvy fans and prospective Prada NFT collectors. The Discord’s community manager has been busy, as Prada has promised to grant one-of-a-kind benefits to those lucky enough to hold their NFTs. 

Prada, Time Capsule Collection

Prada’s most recent NFT launch was a pivotal element of Time Capsule, where they list rare and limited-supply merchandise for direct purchase every month. For this latest launch, Prada collaborated with artist and musician Cassius Hirst to create one hundred gender-neutral shirts. The first hundred to buy one of the button-down shirts received a free NFT (on the Ethereum Blockchain) that was rendered to look like a (black/white) pill capsule.

Each NFT came with a unique serial number that tied back to the shirt — which was available in either black or white. (Cassius Hirst’s father is the world-famous Damien Hirst, whose first NFT drop, ironically titled The Currency, gave collectors a choice between holding onto their digital piece or exchanging it for a paper-based art object. )

Prada, Time Capsule Collection

NFTs, Discord, Metaverse Fashion Week: Prada is leading the way in Web3 retail for luxury brands, positioning themselves as a builder of communities and a leader in digital consumer journeys. Several iconic fashion designers are following briskly in the footsteps of Prada. Such as the case with Balenciaga and Lancôme, who have made initial advances into the burgeoning NFT space. However, Gucci stands alone in its capacity to rival Prada’s latest Web3 initiatives.  

Known for being the first luxury clothier to drop an NFT, Gucci has remained a pioneer in the Web3 space. Their Gucci Town (on Roblox), which lets users play games and earn virtual rewards — such as purses and other accessories — has been critically acclaimed in terms of accessibility and overall design. Credit Gucci’s Web3 team, who have dubbed themselves the “Dream Big” team, for the company’s massive success in blockchain and crypto-backed projects.

Community Conquers the Bear

With a prolonged crypto winter freezing overall market sentiment, the enthusiasm for NFTs has dropped considerably, with little indication that the bear market will soon thaw into a Crypto Spring. The floor prices for fashion NFTs have dropped significantly across all marketplaces and metaverses. From Prada to Nike to Adidas and beyond—few retail clothing brands have been spared. Many collectors who are new to the NFT space now feel “stuck”,  saddled with a digital wallet full of jpegs whose market value sits well below original purchase prices. 

When the value of digital assets—whether crypto tokens or NFTs—falls precipitously, the biggest factor determining their future viability, and ultimate survival, is community. NFTs backed by strong communities that share a sense of purpose and pride of ownership will endure. Luxury clothing brands that adroitly keep the trust, loyalty, and gaiety of their digital/virtual communities will emerge as winners.

For any NFT project or famous brand with a Web3 following, FOMO alone will not help them retain their fanboys and fangirls. Perks and rewards, in the form of airdrops, coupons, and customized experiences (both metaverse and IRL), will be what holds the attention and ardor of their supporters.

Widely published throughout his career, Will is regularly featured in American Banker, Foundry, and Tech for Good to name a few. He’s advised over 30 Fortune 500 companies across North America and Asia on content strategy, data visualization, and digital/cultural transformation. He is an influential educator, writer, artist, crypto dad, and husband. His artwork and NFTs are sought-after collectibles. Connect with William on DeSo and LinkedIn.

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