Ben Mayor White: Adidas and the big brand long game in NFT
In this episode, Nick interviews Ben Mayor White. He is leading the charge for building a metaverse strategy at Adidas. In this episode he discusses how he jumped straight in the deep end of NFTs and is building relationships, learning about the crypto industry, and developing a broader strategy.
“You can help each other by collaborating” (Timestamp: 15:05)
“We could really do something with this technology and communities have come together for the first time, and it’s decentralized, and that’s quite exciting to me.” (Timestamp: 19:30)
How Ben got into NFTs
- Background: In 2018, he got into crypto through Bitcoin as an investor. In 2020, during his holiday, he spent his time looking at NFTs. When he returned to work, he knew he wanted to understand more about them. Professionally, at adidas, his role is digital content planner for football. He asked his company if they were doing things around NFTs.
- Part of the NFT community: At home, he became involved with Discord servers and learning about the industry trends. He felt like there was a lot of potential in getting involved in NFTs in 2021 and they needed a plan. They came together as team. What he likes about NFTs is that he can bring his creativity and his marketing skills to the community.
What it takes to engage a large brand
- Incorporating NFTs: it wasn’t seen as a cash grab. The team was meeting and building relationships as they were exploring NFTs. Looking ten years ahead, it isn’t easy to bring in NFTs as a large brand. Evaluating the tokens and protocols takes time. At the same time, owning certain coins may make you bias and unable to make those decisions for the company.
- Liabilities and possibilities: Ben has gone into some meetings thinking they wouldn’t be interested but there is a general fear about how to go about things. NFT’s are capable of creating two-way dialogue between the creator and the owner. If you think about wearables, both in the real world or in the sandbox, Ben believes authentication of provenance is important.
- Expansion of the metaverse: Everything will become connected in the future. Many people in crypto remember difficult times but Ben doesn’t think the brands are only in it to make money and walk away if the market crashes. He thinks the metaverse will keep expanding and the communities will keep growing.
How to build a business around an NFT
- Creating merchandise: With the Bored Apes Ben purchased, he created designs, sold the NFT, and the owner was able to claim a physical sweatshirt with the Ape. He is launching another T-shirt from the Bored Apes soon. NFC is like QR codes, they have been around forever but needed to arrive at the right time in order to make sense. Logistically, clothing production is a big undertaking.
- Embracing NFCs and NFTs: NFCs hold value and people will realize that and use them. NFTs can coincide and help in expanding the use of NFCs. The provenance of these items is really important. Ben says what’s happening with new NFT projects, eventually, users will be playing games and having battles in the metaverse. These ecosystems will expand, and big brands are up against that industry growth.
- Anyone can take anyone on: The Bored Apes and other things are generating communities and revenues. You can help each other by collaborating. In 2011, they worked with Youtube influencers because they were natives to the platform and understood subscribers. The big companies will have to look at the founders of NFTs, not as a cash grab but to educate consumers that don’t understand NFTs.
- Power to do good: Ben says any big brand working with sports stars that are connected to places in the world means the power to do good. He would love to be part of that and help create change through tokenization and long-term communities.
- Big brands in the crypto space: Ben says when he thinks of people in the crypto community, he doesn’t think about gender. My people change their avatars it’s difficult to know who they are. Kanye West is working with adidas but he can be difficult. These artists have their own way of doing things and that sort of thing happens. Agreements with others are good deals but also like the wild west. His company understands that.
- Thinking about the long game: Things get complicated when you’re building a 10-year collection because what if your best player leaves 6-months later. There are many unpredictable things. In terms of reputation, the company is careful not to make bad decisions when it comes to NFTs. In the metaverse, there is a chance your mistakes will be remembered forever
Intellectual property and NFTs
- Questions around copyright: Artists sometimes use brands in their NFTs, but there will be questions around copyright in the future. If the creator sees revenue from it, it becomes more difficult, and agreements have to be made.
- Learning about NFTs daily: Closing deals with big brands is a growing trend in the NFT world. Ben believes that he has become a key person representing adidas. The Bored Apes started one month ago, and some people have said that they would be worthless in six months. He believes the opposite is true. As a member in the community he hears about trends and knows what’s going on.
- Vision for the future: He does his best to bring this information to his company. In the end, he is an individual first and will continue his involvement with NFTs. He wants to help build the space.
- You can find him on almost every platform under the name Ben Mayor White. He is active on Twitter as @benmayorwhite. He will be sharing some of his projects and collaborations there.