“Launching our limited-edition Burberry Blanko in Blankos Block Party is our first exploration into the world of NFTs; unlocking an entire new platform of possibilities, empowering digital natives and gamers to own a piece of our brand and to actively engage and participate with our house codes,” said Rod Manley, Burberry’s chief marketing officer.
Blankos Block Party looks like a mix between gaming platforms Roblox, Minecraft and Fall Guys, where players join mini-games created by the community using playable NFT vinyl toys called Blankos. To put this into context, think of the collectibles you can buy from the ZiNG Pop Culture store, but this time they’re digital and stored in a crypto wallet built into the game. And the more you play and customise the Blankos that you own, the more they increase in value. Suddenly it’s not just about playing a game. The stakes are higher and the feeling of ownership makes the experience significantly more interesting when it comes to selling and trading Blankos with other players, or holding onto special ones as collectibles. Even the unboxing is a celebration of purchasing a Blankos.
Blankos Block Party offers a remarkable platform for artists to be supported and players to express themselves through a wide array of art available. This is of particular interest to Burberry as Blankos Block Party aligns with their core values of creativity and freedom of expression.
Manley says: “pushing boundaries and discovering new ways to innovate with our communities have always been at the heart of what we do as a brand. Being a part of this creative and pioneering community with Mythical Games is an incredible synergy for us and a perfect evolution of our existing engagement with the gaming communities.”
Digital games are the new community spaces
The British fashion house is as innovative as it says, releasing its TB Summer monogram campaign in July 2020 using computer-generated images featuring Kendall Jenner. Shortly after, it shared its third online game, B Surf (a surf racing game), which incorporates elements of the TB Summer monogram collection. And earlier this month, Burberry collaborated with Farfetch to celebrate the launch of its Olympia handbag with a web-enabled virtual environment called Store in the Sky.
These are not one-off campaigns but strategic moves in Burberry’s evolution, ensuring it maintains relevance with digital natives and younger generations who may not place the same value on traditional luxury products advertised in mainstream media.
Digital games have also evolved to become a destination for interaction and socialising, providing the perfect environment for community participation. These virtual 3D spaces provoke exploration as they look like a place to gather. Pair that with a secondary marketplace to trade blockchain tokens, and you’re on the fringes of a universal economy providing inclusive revenue opportunities to all stakeholders.
NFTs and digital collectibles
For those who invest in Blankos, the appeal lies in accessing unique artwork as NFTs and supporting artists. As Blankos Block Party has been developed using blockchain technology, it ensures creatives are compensated each time their artwork changes ownership, whether it’s being purchased for the first time or sold several times over, they’ll receive a cut.
What makes collecting Blankos vinyl toys intriguing is the notion of playing the game with the Blankos you own. Generally, collectibles are something to look at and appreciate. However, in Blankos Block Party, every Blanko has a story and individual style, and develops rare characteristics and increases in scarcity over time.
Similar to collecting skins in games or limited edition sneakers, subcultures are powering new economies. They live “off the grid” where the value is determined by the trendsetters, not big business. Big brands are determined to crack the code and understand this phenomenon so they can catch the wave now, rather than later. As digital natives move toward spending more of their time in virtual spaces that are designed for interaction, self-expression and new economies, what they purchase from a luxury brand is virtually changing in real time.