Nike’s latest line of digitised Air Force Ones are exactly that – NFTs for all intents and purposes i.e. a digital thing someone can own. Nevertheless, no matter where and how hard you look, you won’t find the term NFTs anywhere in the marketing of these digital Air Force Ones. 

Marketed instead as “virtual creations”. Nike has cleverly noticed that the average consumer only cares about experience – not the tech. The selling point here is the power of collective ownership – not the ins and outs of an NFT. 

The digital products were co-created with Nike customers and the brand was randomly scattered among the 100,000 so-called virtual creations that Nike had made available over the last week. 

The designs were stored inside a digital version of a Nike sneaker box. Fans could buy one of two of those boxes — “Classic Remix or “New Wave” — each costing $19.82. And were only available to those who had an account on the .Swoosh site. Each box came with a 3D file that the owner could potentially use to export the digital sneaker to other platforms like a game, for example (if compatible) and more. 

Between the low price point and the involvement of the Nike fanbase, it’s clear that the company has prioritised community involvement with its latest sneaker drop over hard returns. In other words, it was a brand building play — an attempt to connect a group of people through content as opposed to finding smart ways to trick them into watching an ad individually. 

“The company is not just selling digital sneakers, it’s creating a community of fans who can interact with each other and with the brand in new and cool ways,” said Anjali Young, co-founder of crypto community management tool Collab.Land. “Marketers are embracing NFTs as part of their marketing and sales strategy instead of being sceptical about it.” 

The idea of NFTs as media is still an early one. As in, it’s likely to be taken with a heavy dose of scepticism. But the idea is starting to pique the interest of a few marketers. Yet the more attractive drops tend to embrace web2 marketing and know how to entice a web2 audience without the use of off-putting buzz words. 

Another great example is Starbucks who, like Nike, doesn’t call them NFTs, it prefers “digital Journey Stamps” — a nod to the fact that stamp collecting is a well-known and popular concept.

In the meantime, the scepticism will fade – everything always does. 

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