How NFTS Are Used By Marketers—A Continually Updated List

Tracking how marketers are trying their hand at non-fungible tokens.

Credit: Ad Age / Mattel

In less than a year, the acronym NFT has gone from WTF to BFF for brands. Non-fungible tokens are digital assets like bitcoin, only they’re unique and irreplaceable, like owning an original work of art online. They utilize the same authentification technology as cryptocurrency and, similar to the digital dough, are still nebulous in their uses. While some NFTs hold monetary value, others link owners to communities or can even be worn digitally.

Still confused? Read our guide to NFTs here.

Brands including Taco BellCrockpotCampbell's and Twitter have leaped into the ever-popularizing market, with more joining them by the day. Below is a continually-updated list of new NFTs and how a variety of brands—even the "Puppy Bowl"—are adopting them in their marketing in 2022.

New to NFT news? Catch up here on brands' NFT moves from 2021.

Jan. 20, 2022

1:30 PM ET

Adidas to launch interactive art project that will be sold as an NFT

Adidas is launching “Adidas for Prada re-source,” a digital art creation project that will allow fans to contribute to a tiled canvas that will eventually be minted into an NFT and sold at auction. A 15% share of the final sale will be split among fans who contribute, with 80% donated to non-profit Share Factory and the remaining 5% to digital artist Zach Lieberman, who will help to curate the design.

The project, a collaboration with luxury fashion house Prada, is in-part a make-up for Adidas’ clumsy NFT drop last month, in which numerous fans were unable to mint the “Into the Metaverse” collectibles. Adidas will allocate 500 spots to this group for the project’s waitlist.

Another 1,000 spots will be allocated for holders of the “Into the Metaverse” token, making good on the retailer’s promise of exclusive rewards. The final 1,500 spots will be allocated to the public. The waitlist opens Jan. 24.

—Asa Hiken

11 AM ET

Patrón’s NFT drop grants access to limited-edition tequila bottles

Patrón is releasing its first batch of NFTs that will unlock real bottles of its limited-edition Chairman’s Reserve tequila. The collection will drop Jan. 25 on, a direct-to-consumer NFT marketplace for wine and spirits. Buyers will have the choice to redeem their token for the delivery of a physical bottle, trade it on the BlockBar marketplace, keep it in their “virtual bar” or gift it to someone else.

The collection includes 150 NFTs tied to their respective bottles, and will be sold for 1.5 ETH (approximately $4,500), purchasable with Ether or by credit card. 

—Asa Hiken

9:20 AM ET

Tom Brady’s NFT agency nets $170 million in Series B funding

Autograph, a startup NFT agency co-founded by NFL quarterback Tom Brady, closed a $170 million Series B round funded primarily by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and Kleiner Perkins. Additional participation came from a new fund led by crypto investor Katie Haun and Lightspeed partner Nicole Quinn. As part of the investments, Autograph will add three new members to its board: Haun, a16z’s Arianna Simpson and Kleiner Perkins’ Ilya Fushman.

Autograph is hoping to serve as a middle-man between popular athletes and entertainers and the growing NFT space. Current partners represent big names like Tiger Woods, Simone Biles, Naomi Osaka and Tony Hawk.

— Asa Hiken

Jan. 18, 2022

1:30 PM ET

Coinbase to allow NFT purchases with Mastercard

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase will soon begin to allow Mastercard as a method of purchase on its forthcoming NFT marketplace, Coinbase NFT. Until now, most NFTs could only be bought using a cryptocurrency, like Ether (ETH), which requires consumers to conduct a multi-step process just to become eligible buyers. With Mastercard, however, Coinbase is working to classify NFTs as “digital goods,” allowing consumers to buy the tokens with their Mastercard credit card.

— Asa Hiken

StockX ties NFTs to sneakers in new type of trading
Sneaker resale marketplace StockX is starting a service that allows users to trade sneakers without ever taking possession of them. Vault NFTs, as it is being called, uses NFTs tied to physical products that sneaker traders can buy and sell using blockchain technology to ensure authenticity. Buyers will own the token and sneakers and may have them delivered at any time.

—Bloomberg News

Jan. 14, 2022


NFT creators, investors owe billions in taxes

Investors and creators of nonfungible tokens— whose market has ballooned to $44 billion, Chainalysis data show—face billions of dollars in taxes and rates as high as 37%, according to tax experts. Internal Revenue Service officials who deal with tax evaders say they are gearing up for a crackdown. 

The surprises looming for NFT enthusiasts when tax filing season begins this month are crypto’s latest wake-up call from Washington as officials across the U.S. government set their sights on the burgeoning industry. The rules about taxing tokens aren’t clear, leaving NFT collectors scrambling to calculate how much they owe. Investors may not realize they need to pay any taxes at all or that they should file more than once a year, increasing the odds they’ll face future penalties.


11 AM ET

Budweiser to drop randomly generated NFTs in support of emerging musicians  

Credit: Budweiser

Budweiser’s latest NFT collection, Budweiser Royalty, aims to support emerging musicians by taking advantage of a popular trend in the digital collectible space. The drop will feature 11,000 NFTs based on 22 artists (500 per), and each token will be randomly generated upon purchase, varying in rarity and corresponding rewards. Four hundred core-level NFTs will only include the collectible itself; 99 rare-level tokens will include access to a virtual listening party with their artist on Discord; and one ultra-rare-level token will allow buyers to have a video call with their artist, as well as access to their Discord listening party. The tokens will be dropped on Jan. 21 and sold for $499 a piece.

The collection is in partnership with VaynerMedia’s VaynerNFT division, and takes advantage of a randomness tactic that has helped to popularize NFT collections like Bored Ape Yacht Club. Random generation introduces a gambling aspect to the buying experience, as well as boosts the collectibles’ potential to be flipped on secondary markets depending on their rarity. For Budweiser Royalty, owners of a Budweiser Heritage token from its previous drop will have early access to the auction.

—Asa Hiken

Jan. 12, 2022


Gap is selling NFTs

  Credit: Gap

Gap will debut its first collection of non-fungible tokens this week. Like some retail rivals, the brand’s NFTs will include a gaming component to encourage customers to continue to engage.  The limited collection will feature work from Brandon Sines, the New York-based artist behind Frank Ape illustrations. The NFT collectibles will be available for purchase at different price levels—the lowest, called “Common,” will cost roughly $8.30, while the highest, “One of a Kind,” will be available for purchase in an auction format on Jan. 24. Customers who collect the digital art at lower levels and reach a certain level will be able to purchase a physical Gap hoodie designed in collaboration with Sines.

—Adrianne Pasquarelli

Jan. 11, 2022

2 PM, ET

The AP is turning photojournalists’ work into NFTs

Credit: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti

The Associated Press will launch an NFT marketplace built by blockchain technology provider Xooa. Users will be able to purchase the news agency’s photos, including Pulitzer-Prize-winning images. The photos’ subject matter will range from space, climate, and war, as well as spotlighting specific AP photographers. Each NFT’s metadata will include the time, date, location, equipment and technical settings used to capture the shot. All proceeds will go back into funding AP journalism. The marketplace will open Jan. 31.

—Erika Wheless 

Jan. 10, 2022

4:10 PM ET

Animal Planet doles out “Puppy Bowl” NFTs

Ahead of its Super Bowl-themed “Puppy Bowl,” Animal Planet launched the first of a series of trading cards in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which fans can view and mint (purchase) on marketplace Chronicle. The opening drop features 5,000 free tokens of the “Puppy Bowl Pass,” which offer fans first access to the upcoming drops of NFTs that will vary in price and rarity. The full series includes 23 unique cards that will be doled out weekly before the game on Feb. 13.

–Asa Hiken

Jan. 6, 2022

12 PM ET

Barbie releases first NFTs with fashion house Balmain

One of this year's new NFT entrants is Mattel's Barbie brand. Credit: Mattel

Mattel-owned Barbie is dipping its toes into the digital art world with three unique NFTs of its Barbie and Ken avatars. The tokens will feature the dolls styled in designs by Balmain, offering a digital version of the brand’s new line of ready-to-wear accessories with the French luxury fashion house. Accompanying the NFTs will be a corresponding set of real-life, Barbie-sized Balmain pieces. 

The auction will be offered exclusively through Mattel Creations, the toy manufacturer’s e-commerce platform launched in 2020, and hosted on marketplace mintNFT. Other Mattel brands that have recently seen NFT drops include Hot Wheels and UNO—more signs that the manufacturer is angling to meet increasing consumer interest in the metaverse.

—Asa Hiken

Jan. 5, 2022

12 PM ET

Drone Racing League enters the metaverse with new series and NFT prizes

Players competing in the Drone Racing League will soon be able to win NFTs and cryptocurrency as part of a new play-to-earn series being designed with game developer Playground Labs. The competition and token prizes will live on the Algorand blockchain, an up-and-comer in the crypto space that boasts an environmentally friendlier model.

The DRL’s partnership with Playground Labs—a new gaming affiliate of crypto-investment fund Hivemind Capital Partners—extends high-speed drone racing beyond real-life and esports and into the metaverse, where the league is hoping to build the next generation of fan experiences and create new brand integrations. Drone racing is a sport with a growing fan base that has interests in adjacent and buzzy marketing spaces, including gaming and fintech.

“[The] DRL is made for the metaverse and the future global economy, where play-to-earn games will create community, economic sustainability and authentic engagement for participants around the world,” said Playground Labs CEO Sam Peurifoy.

— Asa Hiken

Jan. 3, 2022

9:30 AM ET

Derek Jeter NFT collection launches with rotating Times Square display

Credit: Autograph

To promote the launch of “Jeter: The Captain Collection,” NFT company Autograph unveiled an interactive billboard in Times Square that features personalized fan messages to the former baseball star. The messages will be fielded from Autograph’s Discord community and center around Jeter’s fans in his home city of Kalamazoo, Michigan. The Jeter collection drops on Jan. 6.

The rotating display will also debut a leaderboard that ranks all Autograph members based on the rarity of their collectibles. Autograph was co-founded by Tom Brady, and on New Year’s Eve also spotflighted its NFTs from Brady, The Weeknd, Simone Biles, Naomi Osaka and Tiger Woods, among others.

— Asa Hiken