The Atlanta-based beverage giant is selling a series of four NFTs—known as non-fungible tokens—that will be sold as a single asset with proceeds benefiting Special Olympics International. NFTs are digital assets backed by blockchain technology and have seen quick adoption this year by artists and cryptocurrency enthusiasts alike. Interest in the sector has prompted companies ranging from Pringles to the entertainment brand Superplastic to create NFTs with the hope of tapping into the crypto-cultural zeitgeist.
For its digital asset debut, Coca-Cola partnered with Tafi—a Utah-based startup that makes avatars and other virtual content—to resurrect a pixelated version of Coke’s classic 1956 vending machine. However, instead of cans of soda inside, the “Friendship Box” is meant to be like a “loot box” in video games. Coca-Cola’s own Ethereum-based NFT loot box includes a metallic red bubble jacket wearable that is inspired by the company’s old delivery uniforms—but that illuminates with fizz. The series also includes digital versions of Coca-Cola’s 1940s trading cards and a “sound visualizer” that features classic Coke sounds such as a bottle opening and a drink being poured over ice. Coca-Cola’s auction will begin bidding on July 30 and run through August 2 on OpenSea, online marketplace for NFTs and other crypto collectibles.
“It really gave us an opportunity to explore the robust space the digital space gives you. This really cool convergence of form and function and aesthetic,” said Joshua Schwarber, senior director of global digital design at Coca-Cola. “So the ability to do things in motion and have artwork come alive or be able to reimagine our assets in new and unique ways to create these multi-sensorial kind of opportunities.”
Coca-Cola has a long track record of creating and selling collectibles in the real world. On the company’s website, a limited edition Norman Rockwell set of four Coca-Cola prints is priced at $400 while a vintage German Trink plastic cooler can be bought for $550. There’s also a Steuben Crystal 125th Anniversary bottle for $275, a 1970 Chevrolet Hauler set for $34.95 and a “First Hundred Years Collector’s Book” for $25.
“We were struck by the fact that the Coca-Cola brand has generated collectability and love over three centuries,” said Tafi President Matt Wilburn. “It’s 1800s, 1900s, and now we’re looking at how do you create an NFT that reflects that brand love over such a period of time. You’re literally creating an NFT which is totally appropriate that it’s timeless—it does not exist in the real world today, but if you’re looking forward to the next century, what does that look like?”