It’s becoming more and more difficult to challenge the notion that The Bored Ape Yacht Club is a force to be reckoned with. With major artists like Eminem and Snoop Dogg using their Bored Apes in music videos and Bored Ape owners being allowed to “audition” their Apes for major Hollywood productions, it’s obvious this NFT project is rapidly turning into a major brand in its own right. Now KINGSHIP , the first supergroup of Bored Apes signed to a major label, have collaborated with M&M’s to create a limited edition candy. But is this marketing genius or a misguided attempt at gaining recognition?
NFTs and the Mainstream
For the most part, NFTs haven’t really taken off outside of the world of Web3 and crypto. As many of you know, a lot of people tend to associate NFTs with environmental destruction, scams and cash grabs. The industry isn’t exactly in a great place, and as long as people continue to buy into collections for the hype and project owners capitulate, things aren’t going to change for most communities anytime soon. However, despite this, as well as a bunch of controversy, BAYC has managed to not only stay afloat, but enjoy a pretty decent amount of mainstream exposure and “adoption,” if you will.
But what’s the fundamental difference between BAYC and just about every project? I’d argue a couple of things, but primarily presence and consistency. Yup, no matter what happens, BAYC seems to be omnipresent in all kinds of social media environments as well as the world of pop culture itself. In fact, so strong is their presence and effect that the image of a Bored Ape is basically synonymous with the NFT acronym. So whether you love them or hate them, BAYC is still going strong and seems to be going from strength to strength.
KINGSHIP x M&M’s
This brings me to the focus of today’s article, that being the limited edition candy that M&M’s is releasing in collaboration with KINGSHIP, a virtual metaverse music group comprised of three BAYC NFT hodlers and one Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC) owner. Now just to be clear, this doesn’t mean that M&M’s has any kind of formal agreement in place with Yuga Labs or BAYC, so while it’s cool news, it’s not quite that big (at least, not yet).
And why has M&M’s decided to partner with KINGSHIP? Well, for one, the band really loves their M&M’s, and as part of their rider, they always ask that they have M&M’s of all colors backstage. So to honor this pioneering group, M&M’s have decided release 3 limited edition products:
These exclusive packs include all 6 colors of M&M’S®, custom printed candies with KINGSHIP™ group members Captain, KING, Arnell and Hud.
I’m not gonna lie, that’s friggin’ cool. And regardless of what anyone thinks, this is a brilliant marketing move on both the part of M&M’s and KINGSHIP. That said, 10,000 packs does seem a little too limited. I mean, I’d love to get a pack of M&M’s with KINGSHIP or BAYC PFPs and art printed on them, but since I’m not in the US (major bummer) and the fact that these packs are selling out quickly, I think it’s safe to say I won’t get the chance.
Does this help KINGSHIP, M&M’s, BAYC and MAYC? Definitely. Is it being handled as well as it could be? No. If stats are accurate, about 400 million M&M’s are produced worldwide every single day. So I don’t know about you, but 10,000 total gift boxes and jars seems like a drop in the ocean. I’m not saying don’t make it limited edition, but what I am saying is: make it a little less limited edition and thereby more inclusive.
The thing is that BAYC is already strong enough to negotiate something like this, and while it’s all well and good that BAYC and MAYC hodlers are catered to, if they want to actually grow their community and let people in on the fun and excitement, they need to shift their outlook as well. Most people haven’t warmed up to NFTs yet, and a lot of them don’t want to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars investing into one (and understandably so). The best way to engage with them is to meet them halfway and get them involved by becoming part of the things they already love. That’s what leads to a sense of community, openness and mass adoption.
And naturally, not everyone is a fan of this move by M&M’s (could also just be jealousy, but hey, who knows?)
Wait, But This Is Just a Collab, Right?
Yeah, again, this doesn’t really represent an ongoing partnership between BAYC and M&M’s, and the focus is mainly on KINGSHIP and existing Bored and Mutant Apes hodlers. It would just be nice to see more inclusion and community building on the part of KINGSHIP and M&M’s, but hey, maybe that’s exactly what they think they’re doing. Who am I to judge?
At the end of it all, I would still call this a net positive for BAYC and M&M’s, but I’m not entirely sure the execution is as good as it could be. Hype is great, collaborations are great, but shouldn’t the function of marketing be to reach a wider audience instead of appealing to a captive audience?
I have to say though, I think BAYC thrives on controversy. I mean, the court case with Ryder Ripps, being used by Hip Hop artists like Snoop and Eminem—maybe that’s part of their appeal. Either way, BAYC still seems to be on the rise, but if they can just find a way to be a little more inclusive, their growth could indeed be meteoric…