Why Major Brands Are Going Web3 Despite Bear Market

Bear market is the best time to build and try new strategies. These 6 brands get it.

Why Major Brands Are Going Web3 Despite Bear Market
TL;DR:• This article explores strategies that 6 different IPs implemented to launch their brands in Web3.• NFT market is transforming towards more accessible collections that leverage communities outside of Web3. That's why their efforts don't rely on metas/trends/floor prices as much.• We see more popular brands and IPs enter Web3 almost every week: Entertainment franchises, sports organizations, car brands, fashion giants.• The blockchain tech helps those brands engage their communities in new, previously impossible ways.

NFTs are transforming. In 2021, profile pictures (PFPs) dominated: Everyone had a pixel art profile picture or an animal avatar—and those were flying off the virtual shelves. Floor prices skyrocketed, projects got minted out in seconds.

In 2023, deep into the bear market, PFPs are no longer as prevalent. Floor prices are going down even across the projects once seen as “blue chips”, and many VCs who rocked CryptoPunk PFPs during the bull have now rebranded to AI experts.

Truth is, NFTs are very far from dead. They're transforming, which is a healthy process for a technology that has forever revolutionized digital ownership.

Right now, the market is changing towards art collection and more accessible NFTs that target a bigger audience. In this article, we'll focus on the latter. Those new wave collections are often launched by major brands which aim to bring their existing community to web3 and engage it through unique onchain experiences they couldn't deliver before.

Launching in a bear market and not at the hype peak, those projects don’t rely solely on floor prices or whatever is hot on NFT Twitter this week. Instead, they aim to carve their own path in this evolving landscape and are planning longterm.

Let's delve into six such brands and how Rarible has helped them make the transition.

FOX’s Krapopolis: Dan Harmon’s NFT-Powered Cartoon

Krapopolis is a new cartoon by Dan Harmon (co-creator of Rick & Morty) launching in September 2023. Set in Ancient Greece, the show is "centered on a flawed family of humans, gods and monsters that tries to run one of the world’s first cities without killing each other".

The even more special thing about it?

Krapopolis is powered by a community of NFT holders. Instead of dictating the story lines and details from the top down, the community gets to vote on what happens in the show and access exclusive experiences. That embodies exactly what Web3 stands for: decentralization and true ownership.

Rarible supported FOX's Web3 arm company (with FOX being the studio behind Krapopolis) with the launch of the Krap Chicken marketplace, where users can get prepared for the upcoming show by trading Krap Chickens—their "fan passes to enter the gates of Krapopolis"—and learning about the NFT's utility.

Notably, even though the first season of Krapopolis is yet to launch, the show has already been renewed for a second and third season—which is rare in the entertainment industry, especially when it comes to brand new IPs.

Maybe it’s some of that Web3 magic?

Smurfs: Innovative Bucket Auction to Kickstart Web3 Journey

Everyone knows these blue characters—whether it’s from figurines, cartoons or video games: The Smurfs persist through the generations.

Looking to expand to new channels and ways of building community around their IP, Smurfs saw the potential of blockchain technology and decided to enter web3.

They auctioned off 3,000 NFTs of their iconic characters with an innovative bucket auction powered by Rarible. Here’s how it worked: There was a (publicly visible) clearing price based on all bids in the auction, which ultimately determined the mint price for a single NFT within the collection. Bids at or above that price were considered “winning” and received NFT(s) at the end, depending on their bid. Those who bid below the clearing price had their funds fully reimbursed shortly after the auction ended.

The event was a massive success for the Smurfs community, raising $1m+ and receiving a bold 250 ETH bid from one of the participants! Both the auction and the secondary marketplace where users could list their Smurfs were powered by Rarible.

This unique mechanic showed the Smurfs team's understanding of web3: In the true spirit of decentralization, they let the community decide the mint price.

Barbie: Ahead of the Curve with Web3 Collaboration

Representation matters. In web3 and elsewhere.

As part of its superb marketing strategy for the Barbie movie, Mattel also tapped into digital collectibles. Notably, the company took a collaborative approach to Web3 integration by releasing a PFP collection in partnership with Web3-native brand Boss Beauties to target multiple audiences.

A core characteristic of this partnership was a focus on accessibility. By minting on the low-gas blockchain Flow at a low price of $25 for a pack of four, these collectibles became accessible to Barbie fans worldwide.

To help people collect the Boss Beauties-inspired Barbies they love the most (and even find their dream job), Mattel built the secondary marketplace with Rarible.

This shows a transition in the market: Away from oversubscribed premium mints, towards more accessible collectibles in reach of the new audiences.

McFarlane Toys: Bringing the DC Universe to Polygon

McFarlane Toys, renowned for their detailed collectible figures of major media franchises, saw an opportunity to reach a broader audience in the Web3 space.

By dropping digital toy collections on Polygon, they provide an accessible entry point for collectors who want to expand their collection to the digital realm.

Minting on Polygon ensures low gas fees, while a credit card checkout makes it easy for web3 newbies to skip the often complicated onboarding. McFarlane Toys now seems to be doubling down on this approach, as they have recently secured a massive partnership deal with Warner Brothers that will involve multiple exclusive DC drops.

The secondary marketplace powered by Rarible makes it easy to get into the new digital ecosystem of McFarlane toys by trading collectibles with other enthusiasts and navigating new drops.

Hot Wheels: Fast cars, Faster Blockchain

Hot Wheels is another iconic Mattel brand selected to get a digital collectible series on Flow, a blockhain that markets itself as the most mainstream ready one due to its speed and minimal gas fees.

Dubbed Hot Wheels NFT Garage, the initial drop was so successful that Mattel followed up with additional collections, with the latest one selling out in 5 minutes. By now, the Hot Wheels NFT Garage has seen 5 series, including a special drop co-branded with the famous Fast & Furious movie franchise that released shortly before the latest film.

Just like the Boss Beauties x Barbie collection, Hot Wheels NFTs are available on the Rarible-powered secondary marketplace, where collectors are completing their sets to be eligible for extra perks—and we're seeing a lot of Web3 newbies among active traders there. That's what onboarding looks like!

USGA: Dynamic NFTs for Golf Fans

Earlier this month, the United States Golf Association (USGA) released dynamic digital collectibles for golf fans in collaboration with ArtBall and Rarible for the U.S. Women’s Open tournament.

Utilizing opportunities presented by the NFT tech, each virtual golf ball was tied to a plot on the historic Pebble Beach Golf Club, with the generative artwork updating live following in-tournament happenings on that plot of land.

As a result, holders had an extra reason to watch the tournament live and see how their NFTs' metadata updates, and got a unique virtual souvenir in the process. The tournament is now over, but the Rarible-powered marketplace (which also supported the mint) is available for anyone who wants to scoop a fully updated golf ball they like the best.

What's next? Many more brands to enter Web3.

As the Web3 landscape evolves, major brands like Smurfs, Barbie, McFarlane Toys, Hot Wheels and USGA are leveraging it to innovate and strengthen community engagement. With mints, marketplaces and other Web3 experiences powered by Rarible, they're introducing more accessible digital collectibles and onboarding their community to web3.

NFTs is a market that’s always evolving and right now, we’re witnessing the next stage of evolution. And Rarible is here to help power that future.