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How Brands Can Effectively Market A Digital Asset Campaign


Greg Larson

Greg is an ethos content contributor, author, and web3 journalist who has contributed to more than 30 books, including Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestsellers. His most recent book, ‘Clubbie’, was featured in Forbes, the Los Angeles Times, and CBS Sports.

Greg is an ethos content contributor, author, and web3 journalist who has contributed to more than 30 books, including Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestsellers. His most recent book, ‘Clubbie’, was featured in Forbes, the Los Angeles Times, and CBS Sports.

Digital assets (NFTs) can supercharge your marketing efforts, and investing in them with a solid campaign strategy has proven benefits.

From Starbucks to Nike, major brands are already utilizing digital assets to connect with their audiences in innovative ways. To achieve success in this space, it can be helpful to take notes from industry leaders.

In this article, we’ll dive into the successful campaigns of 3 prominent brands, and provide key takeaways for implementing their strategies within your own.

3 Brands That Did NFTs Right (And How)

Starbucks’ Odyssey Campaign

Starbucks’ next-generation digital asset loyalty program, called Starbucks Odyssey, has been a massive success since its launch in December 2022. As of writing, it’s done nearly $1 million in total volume.

Each NFT in its most recent drop was priced at $100 and they sold out almost immediately. Some of these digital assets have sold for more than $1,000.

Why Starbucks Succeeded

Part of the brilliance of Starbucks Odyssey is that it’s not entirely new to their customers. It’s integrated with the company’s already robust rewards program, which has nearly 30 million members.

Plus, the digital assets provide real utility for their fans. Starbucks’ NFTs, called "Journey Stamps," allow collectors to access special benefits and rewards within the Starbucks Rewards program. The Journey Stamps can be earned through participating in various activities such as playing online games, completing quizzes, and purchasing coffee.

So how did Starbucks pull this off, and what can other brands learn from its early success?

Takeaways from Starbucks

  • Integrate with an existing rewards program.

Why build from scratch when 30 million people already use Starbucks rewards?

This decision helped Starbucks capitalize on its existing customer base and promote the digital asset program to loyal customers.

  • Choose the right partners.

Starbucks built the program on Polygon, a tech solution that offers faster and cheaper transactions compared to other blockchains.

This choice allows Starbucks to provide a more seamless and accessible experience to its customers.

  • Eliminate crypto jargon.

Part of Starbucks' success with Odyssey was its ease of use and simplicity. Starbucks almost completely stayed away from crypto jargon, which helped attract mainstream customers.

Participants don’t even need a crypto wallet or to know they’re earning blockchain-based rewards. By eliminating barriers to entry, Starbucks made it easy for customers to engage with Odyssey.

Nike's CryptoKicks

Nike is one of the pioneers in brand digital assets. The company has registered a total digital asset revenue of around $185 million, with royalties close to $100 million.

Nike partnered with RTFKT Studios to launch what they referred to as CryptoKicks sneakers. The CryptoKicks sneakers project were a giant success for Nike. Each pair of CryptoKicks were unique and could be personalized by the buyer through collectible "Skin Vials," which could be swapped to enable varying styles. Some holders could even use their NFT to claim an “iRL” (or in real life) sneaker, which features an auto-lacing upper that tightens to fit the wearer's foot, customizable lights, wireless charging, and a built-in WM NFC chip for NFT linking and authentication purposes.

Why Nike Succeeded

The success of CryptoKicks stems from Nike's ability to tap into both the growing interest in blockchain technology and its potential applications in the fashion industry. Nike succeeded because it not only offered a unique digital asset that was tied to its core product, sneakers—they also succeeded because the assets were designed to be compatible with a wide range of digital marketplaces and games, which increased their marketing reach.

Finally, Nike offered a physical version of the sneaker to buyers, creating a sense of utility and value beyond just the digital asset.

Takeaways from Nike

  • Find (the right) collaborators.

RTFKT is a respected and well-known name in the digital art world. Nike knew this. Rather than entering the space assuming that their legacy brand recognition would be enough, they collaborated with a group of creators already established in Web3.

This added legitimacy to the project, allowed Nike to tap into RTFKT’s already-existing fanbase, and eventually led to Nike acquiring RTFKT in December of 2021.

  • Create visually stunning graphics.

The collaboration between Nike and RTFKT also highlights the importance of creating visually stunning and unique NFTs.

To you, a digital asset might be a marketing tool. But to your customers, they are also digital art. Like any artwork, they need to be visually appealing.

There’s no doubt that Nike’s digital assets are nice to look at. Other brands don’t always put so much care into their designs. Follow Nike’s lead here.

  • Offer real-life utility.

By offering physical versions of the shoes along with the NFTs, Nike tied Cryptokicks to real utility, creating value beyond just the digital asset. The digital asset also provided access to exclusive Nike experiences and events, further increasing interest in the NFTs.

This approach helped differentiate Nike, positioning them as a leader in the space and driving up demand and sales.

Dolce and Gabbana’s Genesis Collection

Dolce and Gabbana released a collection of digital assets called the “Genesis Collection” in March 2021. The collection consisted of nine unique pieces, each of which was a digital representation of a real-world garment created by the designers.

The pieces were a massive success, and sold for over $6 million in total.

Why D&G Succeeded

The Genesis Collection was successful because it was a masterwork of storytelling and utility.

Every digital asset they released—from crowns to dresses—had its own in-depth story. It was all about how meticulously handcrafted both the digital asset and the corresponding garment was. They emphasized the labor put into each piece. How much gold it had. Exactly what jewels were used - even the origin of said jewels.

What’s more, each piece had unique real-world utility. Anyone who purchased an NFT would get its equivalent customized for them in real life by D&G themselves.

Takeaways from D&G

  • Design with luxury in mind.

To sell luxury items, you need to make them feel luxurious.

D&G did this by creating stunning visuals of their digital assets, including 4K photoshoots and models sporting their garments. Any brand can create luxury digital assets—as long as you prioritize beauty in your visuals.

  • Use evocative descriptions.

People pay big money for a story.

Most brands mail it in with their digital asset descriptions. Not D&G. They labored over their descriptions like an author agonizing over a short story.

Tell a story with your digital assets, and make your customers the main character of that story.

  • Use scarcity to enhance the value of digital assets.

Everything about the D&G digital asset campaign screams status. But that’s not all. Part of the utility allows you to actually take advantage of that status.

Whoever buys each digital asset gets a real life version of that garment. You also get to show off your garment in a 2-week exhibition at any D&G store in the world.

Consider how you can enhance the value of your own digital assets beyond the digital space, using the power of scarcity and luxury to attract potential buyers.

Stay Ahead of the Curve

By prioritizing key elements like choosing the right partners, creating unique visuals, and offering real life utility, you can use digital assets to create compelling and memorable campaigns.

With the global NFT market size projected to be worth over 200 billion USD by 2030, the time has never been better to introduce your customers to this new and emerging form of technology. From helping attract a new demographic to unlocking new forms of customer engagement, digital assets can benefit brands in a variety of ways. At ethos, we offer an array of industry-leading solutions that make it easier than ever to offer digital assets to your customers.

If you're interested in exploring the potential of digital assets for your brand's marketing strategy, connect with us at