Gap taps Frank Ape creator for NFT drop focused on spreading positivity

Linda J. Dodson

Dive Brief:

  • Gap is making its first foray into the world of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) through a collaboration with New York-based artist Brandon Sines and open-source blockchain platform Tezos, according to an announcement.
  • Sines, the brains behind the cartoon Frank Ape, helped draw up the collection based around Gap’s signature hoodie. The digital collectibles come in four tiers based on pricing and availability: common, rare, epic and one-of-a-kind. The common level drops Jan. 13 for 2 tez, or approximately $8.30 each pending market fluctuations, and will be available through the Jan. 15, while other tiers go live over the next two weeks. A gamification element encourages consumers to collect NFTs to unlock opportunities to purchase limited-edition merchandise.
  • Gap partnered with Tezos due to the platform’s emphasis on a low carbon footprint. Crypto formats like NFTs have spurred outcry for producing high emissions, meaning Gap could safeguard itself from backlash by focusing on energy efficiency.

Dive Insight:

Gap is jumping on the NFT craze with an effort that ties back to its brand positioning while promoting a more sustainable agenda. With the experiment, the marketer is trying to gauge what its customers want out of a more digitally-led world, per the announcement.

The retailer teamed with Sines due to his art’s messages around positivity and equality, which align with Gap’s larger mission of spreading “modern American optimism” — a theme prevalent in its advertising for several years now. Frank Ape, who appears on products like enamel pins and skate decks and purportedly lives in New York City, “cares about all living things” and “inspiring other people and animals through thoughtful actions,” per Sines’ website page.

The Gap NFT collection attempts to address barriers to access with the blockchain-powered format, namely that digital collectibles often carry high price tags that are prohibitive to the average consumer. Gap is deploying a tiered approach where common iterations of the Sines-designed collectibles are cheap and available in large quantities, while NFTs on the epic level fetch 100 tez, or approximately $415.00 apiece. All are sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

Additionally, Gap is trying to gamify the experience. Acquiring common and rare ($24.90 each) offerings opens the chance to score epic-level NFTs, as well as a physical Gap x Frank Ape by Sines hoodie. Gap said it plans to release digital experiences developed with other cultural influencers down the line. It didn’t specify who those people might be. The retailer currently has a creative partnership with Kanye West that just aired its first TV ad.

Marketers are extending their NFT initiatives beyond one-off drops as the space gets crowded and consumers expect value adds beyond the digital certificate of ownership. To support its Keep It Real Meals last fall, Burger King sold packaging with QR codes that unlocked digital collectibles when scanned. Acquiring a full set of the series accessed further NFTs carrying rewards like free Whoppers for a year or autographed merchandise.

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