Macy’s takes July Fourth bonanza to Web3 with free NFT drop

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Dive Brief:

  • Macy’s is tying a nonfungible token (NFT) component into its Fourth of July celebration this year as it recognizes the growing prevalence of a new version of the internet based on blockchain known as Web3, according to a press release.
  • The retailer is releasing 10,000 free Macy’s Fireworks NFTs in three thirds. Each showcases elements from the annual fireworks bonanza and opens access to augmented reality (AR) wearables that can be used on select social media and video platforms.
  • The NFTs were developed on the Polygon blockchain and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis to those who register through Macy’s new Discord server. They are expected to drop on or around June 27. While the NFTs are themed for a specific holiday, Macy’s driving more users to the chat app could be a bid at fostering loyalty.

Dive Insight:

Now in its 46th year, Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks display is taking on a distinctively modern sheen with the introduction of Web3 elements. The retailer has trotted out the concept before: It dropped its first NFT collection for the Thanksgiving Day Parade last falldoling out digital collectibles inspired by iconic balloon floats.

Dipping into a similar well for the Fourth of July suggests Macy’s sees real potential in leveraging NFTs to draw in consumers who are fond of its closely-watched holiday showcases but might favor digital channels over traditional media. The department store chain is clearly angling for young cohorts that have shown a preference for Web3 and related concepts like the metaverse.

“These free Macy’s Fireworks NFTs will help attract a new set of fans with an easy to access implementation that democratizes this emerging space for a mass audience, while also embracing a digitally native audience with added utilities including [AR] wearables, ”said Will Coss, executive producer of Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks show, in a statement.

The NFT category is not in great shape. Sale prices and trade activity have plunged in recent months, while the adjacent cryptocurrency space is entering a bear market. But Macy’s doesn’t seem to be relying on NFTs for their transactional value, since its latest collection is free. Instead, the activation is oriented around pushing more people to join Macy’s Discord, where they can register to snag a piece of digital memorabilia.

Macy’s Discord currently has over 12,400 members and that number could climb as the brand links more marketing events to the channel and attempts to build a consistent community. An introductory message promises exclusive drops and new content like digital wearables down the line. Originally known for hosting group chats centered around video games, Discord has emerged as another desirable app for brands to grab a stake in as they look to reach otherwise elusive groups like Gen Z.

Lacoste last week made its first Web3 move with the rollout of a UNDW3 (pronounced “Underwater”) experience. The clothing brand promoted the event with a dedicated Discord server that attracted 30,000 subscribers within 48 hours of going live.

A more robust digital play could help Macy’s retain engagement as linear TV viewing undergoes changes. The Fourth of July fireworks display, which happens live in New York City and is expected to last 25 minutes, will be broadcast nationally via NBC but also available to stream on the network’s Peacock app.

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