Adidas is doubling down on its metaverse ambitions by entering into a four-way partnership with Bored Ape Yacht Club, Pixel Valut's Punks Comic and crypto investor Gmoney. While no information on the collaboration has been released, the three brands adidas is working with have posted teaser visuals of their NFTs donned in apparel with the brands' logos on them.
The sports brand first dipped its toes into the metaverse via a partnership with cryptocurrency platform Coinbase on Twitter on 25 November and NFT gaming firm The Sandbox. Coinbase later retweeted the post, saying "Welcome to the party, partner!"
Meanwhile, two days before the partnership with Coinbase was announced, The Sandbox posted an open invite to adidas on Twitter. In the tweet, it said: "What if we invite all of the original thinkers and do-ers to design our future together?" Adidas retweeted the post, asking fans if it should create and "adi-verse". A quick check by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE showed that adidas has purchased an "estate" on The Sandbox that occupies 144 "parcels". In the metaverse, parcels are akin to plots of land and, when combined, can form an estate.
Last month, adidas launched a Proof of Attendance Protocol (POAP) on its app, "CONFIRMED", for 17 November. There, adidas unveiled its plans to voyage into the metaverse, and users who attended the POAP were given an exclusive adidas digital token as a reward. "This token proves you were here from the beginning of this journey. Keep it safe - it may come handy," adidas said.
Adidas is not the only sports apparel brand with eyeing the metaverse. Nike is reportedly entering the metaverse as well, having filed for several new trademarks in October this year. According to the US Patent and Trademark Office, Nike filed applications for "Nike" and its iconic slogan "Just Do It" on 27 October. A day later, it did the same for the "Jordan" brand name as well as Air Jordan and Jumpman logos. In the application, Nike said the trademarks will be used for "downloadable virtual goods" and "entertainment services". These include computer programmes featuring footwear, clothing, headwear, eyewear, as well as non-downloadable virtual footwear, clothing, headwear, and sports equipment.
Separately, adidas saw a revenue growth of only 3% in the third quarter of 2021, due to the geopolitical situation in Greater China. The company said the challenging market environment in Greater China, extensive COVID-related lockdowns in Asia Pacific as well as industry-wide supply chain disruptions reduced revenue growth by around € 600 million in the third quarter. In APAC, sales declined by 8%, reflecting the impact of the extensive lockdowns in the region. Other markets such as Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) as well as North America both grew by 9%. In addition, revenue in Latin America grew by 55%.
The brand also came under fire last month when, in a promotional video for one of its products featuring a wayang kulit, or shadow puppetry, character designed by the Malaysian artist Jaemy Choong, said that it is "a significant part of Malaysia’s cultural identity and heritage”. Upset Indonesian consumers then rushed to slam the brand on social media, as wayang kulit originated in Indonesia, not Malaysia. Adidas has since apologised for not clearly labelling that in a post showcasing its influence on Malaysian culture.
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