The Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) has quickly become the most notable and valuable NFT collection in the entire blockchain ecosystem. The cartoon images of apes carry a distinct familiarity, enabling Yuga Labs to develop a brand that is immediately recognizable by enthusiasts and critics alike.
However, there is a lot more going on with the tokens themselves than just the common misconception that they are overpriced JPEGs. Along with the various community benefits and airdrops to other valuable NFTs, one of the major selling points for tokens within the BAYC is the included commercial rights to the IP.
After a year of trading, the effects of allowing token holders to independently use the images is allowing new businesses — from a hard seltzer startup to Heidi Klum’s art career — to grow and expand, while opening the door to new methods of marketing to a digitally savvy audience. Along the way, the value of the BAYC brand itself has been bolstered, if not the value of the tokens. Here are just some ways the digital collectibles have evolved into powerful IRL IPs.
Creative writing and literature are two other aspects of the BAYC IP that is being explored. Jenkins the Valet is one group in particular that has used its BAYC IP to create a project that is developing a narrative around a collection of Bored Apes.
Through creative discussion and voting mechanics, the Jenkins community has been able to create a narrative called Bored and Dangerous, written by famed author Neil Strauss in collaboration with the Jenkins The Valet community, and released as a NFT token on the Ethereum blockchain.
The Bored and Dangerous token incorporates a significant amount of features and utilities that relate to an online game with staking and burning mechanisms. But even more interesting is its licensing agreement which will continue to pay royalties to holders of every Bored Ape that is included in the Bored and Dangerous story.
Seth Green, a well-known comedy actor, has been a pop icon for nearly three decades with his roles in Austin Powers, Family Guy, and Robot Chicken. Now, Green has taken a new approach with his acquisition of Bored Ape #8398, which he has named Fred Simian. The character, which he has developed a plot and narrative around, is the center of his new upcoming TV show, White Horse Tavern.
While the actor encountered numerous struggles following a scam where he lost the token (and subsequently, the IP rights to use it), he has since reacquired his Bored Ape and pushed forward with the project.
Regardless of the scam, it is still clear that Bored Apes are offering creatives a vehicle which they can attach and build a fictional universe around. This new approach to the creative process means that there are going to be alternate methods of developing entertainment for mass media companies to distribute by acquiring NFTs so long as they can keep the tokens adequately secure.
The metaverse has become another area ripe for branding and IP use. One example of this is the Below Bored Comedy Club, which is being developed by Aaron Haber, a long-time comedian and holder of BAYC #2960. The club, which just launched in August, hosts a lineup of stand-up comedy shows within the metaverse. There will be open mic nights, special events, livestreamed performances, and plans to teach stand-up comedy.
By using the BAYC branding, the Below Bored Comedy Club already has a large portion of the marketing solved with the use of BAYC #2960 to attract other top-tier comedy talent who are also interested in the potential for metaverse-based comedy clubs.
Many comedians have already begun using podcasts and YouTube as channels to continue speaking their mind and exploring their opinions with a comedic twist. The metaverse allows them another platform to grow as comedians, and more so with the powerful BAYC brand that is bound to attract even wider audiences.
Web3’s branding potential
It has become apparent that the branding potential of NFTs with catchy artwork and cult popularity is paving the way for a new realm of marketing where the community drives the brand.
While the BAYC only represents a small portion of what exists on the blockchain, with enough momentum behind a project, the capabilities to expand a brand’s recognition through a token’s IP rights is eye-opening — and eye-watering.