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By Danielle Long | Acting APAC Editor

March 9, 2023 | 4 min read

The North Face has launched a series of NFTs on Tmall to leverage Chinese consumers' desire for all things adventure and outdoor-related in the post-pandemic and post-lockdown market.

The Spirit of Exploration campaign, which was created by McCann Shanghai, features three NFTs, which link to specific product portfolios and are based on relevant functions, weather and terrain conditions and product history.

As Chinese regulations dictate that NFTs cannot be purchased directly, consumers can only buy an NFT when they purchase a specific The North Face item. With each consumer receives the product, an NFT, and a unique digital certificate - all of which combine to create an exclusive brand experience for consumers.

To promote the collection, McCann launched a teaser campaign across social media, which has already contributed to the sale of 5,000 NFTs in its first week.

How Chu, executive creative director at McCann Shanghai, said, "Many people think that NFTs are just a simple product designed for display. But in fact, every single touch point can become a platform for brands to engage with consumers."

The first NFT promotes The North Face's trail shoe and the brand's TNF100 cross-country race, which has a long-standing reputation among Chinese runners. As part of the campaign, The North Face produced a list of "100 Reasons to Return to the Mountains" based on real answers from 100 runners and the text from the responses was formatted into a finishing line design, which was woven together to become part of the shoe.

The second NFT promotes The North Face's Summit Series, the brand's mountaineering clothing which is designed to cope with extreme weather conditions. In a 15-second to promote this, we see a layer of clothing added every time the peak gets higher to demonstrate the brand's extensive range.

The third NFT promotes the brand's iconic down jacket, which originally launched in 1992, and includes classic imagery from New York in the 90s such as arcade games, Times Square building, the Walkman, subway tokens and graffiti.

Shu Wu, managing sirector of McCann China, said "Building off the in-depth research we have conducted on China’s Metaverse market. We believe that NFT is not only fashionable at this moment, but will also have huge potential in the future."

The campaign launch comes as consumer interest in outdoor clothing and equipment is experiencing a huge surge in interest off the back of China's prolonged lockdowns due to its zero-covid policy. Sales of activewear, outdoor apparel, campaign equipment and running shoes and clothing were among the top categories in China's e-commerce shopping festivals such as 11.11.

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