2023 was a year of building in web3 — and no shortage of brands got in on the action.
Across luxury fashion, institutions like Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Maison Margiela reimagined the roadmap for retaining customers through captivating yet accessible content that turned buying products into something more: an enduring digital connection. Others, like beauty platform KIKI World, pushed the limits of blockchain — and fingernails — via web3 communities focused on co-creation and customization. Across the sports field, Manchester United, Red Bull Racing, and the Tampa Bay Rays-owned Rowdies, won through fan programs and sticky experiences that incentivized fan engagement and boosted sales. The list goes on.
Below are 10 brands who did it right in 2023 — and, in the process, won web3.
The brand that made us love our digital twins more than the real thing 👝
Following the 2019 launch of its Timecapsule NFT collection and 2022’s Adidas and gMoney collaboration, 110-year-old Italian fashion house Prada continued adding to its web3 closet. Now in its 35th (!) edition, Prada’s Timecapsule series makes every month a main event, with the drop of limited edition, nostalgia-focused physical garments that, since 2022, have been joined by a digital twin NFT that unlocks its gated Discord channel (Prada Crypted). Seamlessly mixing the brand’s storied history, archival content, and eye-grabbing knits, Prada’s Timecapsule series is a brilliant, forward-looking blast from the past that had us clutching our digital twins like Anne Hathaway did her job (and dignity) in that movie with Meryl Streep.
The minting experience that was as smooth as Pharrell's skincare routine 😁
Winner: Maison Margiela
Relative luxury newcomer (i.e. under 100 years old) Maison Margiela made its web3 debut in 2023 — a gamified experience that played on the brand’s iconic numeric label design. At first glance, Maison’s drop may have looked like a throwback to AP Calculus, but the limited drop and (gas-free) minting process had consumers rushing to collect as many soul-bound tokens as possible with its remarkably smooth and glitch-free platform. The soothing ambient music unfurling in the background? Chef’s kiss.
The drop with art fit for the Louvre 🎨
Japanese skincare company Shiseido makes every human face a canvas for soft and supple beauty, so it’s no surprise that its latest foray into web3 was an equally breathtaking work of art. Powered by the ever-powerful Art Blocks Engine, “Future Reflections” featured 1,872 unique pieces from four incredible artists: Hannah Yan, Jen Stark, Kaoru Tanaka, and Robert Hodgin. A select 20 works will unlock utility from Shiseido’s Future Solution LX line, including access to an array of luxurious skin products, like the brand’s FSLX Legendary Eye Cream and anti-aging Discovery Set (yes, please). For a skincare company that’s been in the game since 1872, Shiseido is still finding ways to surprise and delight us.
The onchain community that had us all vibing onchain 🕺
Winner: Boys Club
In the last year, Boys Club has reimagined, well, a lot. Blurring the lines between a digitally-native community, IRL events organizer, a DAO, a media company, and an incredibly entertaining and refreshing X account, the group went all-out this year with the launch of the Boys Club Zine (now in its second edition), an ongoing podcast, and some of web3’s most intriguing events. Never taking itself too seriously but setting a standard for quality, diversity, and what the chronically online need, want, and deserve, Boys Club had us vibing more than ever onchain in 2023.
The sports drop that had us screaming in the (virtual) stands ⚽
Winner: Tampa Bay Rays / The Rowdies
Web3 is a powerful technology for improving community engagement and fostering a stronger sense of community, often a key goal of sports teams looking to break into new markets. Case in point: the Tampa Bay Rays’ affiliate soccer team, the Tampa Bay Rowdies, which worked with Mojito to improve engagement, increase revenue, and power good vibes in the stands. Through the drop, season ticket members could earn a “digital fan pass,” which offered free NFTs that could be used for in-stadium discounts all season long. Perhaps we’re slightly partial, but it's still a major W in our eyes.
The drop with more utility than a Ford F-150 ⚙️
Winner: KIKI World
Why scan your literal eyeball to get your digital identity when you can throw on some NFT-chipped nails and hit the town? KIKI World, a beauty platform and community focused on web3-powered co-creation (members can vote on what products they want to see come to life), linked up with Gossip Protocol via a collaboration that allows users to share information instantly via their chipped nails. Like all KIKI products, consumers can vote on what colored nails to release over time — we’re team Feu, personally — and every nail can link to the personal info you want to share (Telegram, X account, Discord, star sign, etc). Business cards will never look — or feel — the same.
The fashion drop that had us serving digital lewks 👗
Luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton has always been a few steps ahead of the runway of culture. Following its launch into web3 via Louis the Game, the brand doubled down on web3 via a summer 2023 NFT collection called Treasure Trunks. Expanding on the immediately recognizable IP of its iconic trunk line, which will run you anywhere from $40-80K, Louis Vuitton turned its trunks digital with a drop of non-transferable Soulbound tokens, which grant consumers an NFT of the digital trunk alongside future access to its ultra-expensive physical twin. And that’s not all — Louis Vuitton’s web3 community members gained access to more of the brand’s highly-anticipated digital items: a Pharrell-designed Orange Speedy Bag NFT, including a physical twin that’s purchasable for $9K. Better throw that one in cold storage.
The brand that made the metaverse feel like our backyard 🫂
According to a revolutionary Roblox report, young consumers are investing in their digital selves (and avatars) more than ever — and they’re more than happy to see brands sell them the tools to look and feel like their best selves in the metaverse. Gucci has been historically bullish on this opportunity, building a town in Roblox last year and hiring a web3 maxi creative director, Sabato De Sarno. In 2023, Gucci explored new ways to share its products online, migrating its Milan fashion show (now an evolving fixture called Gucci Ancora) to four Gen Z-focused global digital spaces: Roblox, ZEPETTO, Tencent, and The Sandbox, where Gucci launched its Vault experience. Perhaps banking on young people’s growing disposable income, Gucci is leaning heavily into the mantra “If you build it in the metaverse, they will come — and spend.”
The digital sneaker drop that wasn't just for kicks 👟
It’s still unclear how much Nike scooped up digital fashion brand RTFKT for, but its investment has been nothing if not busy. 2023 saw the long-awaited drop of its NFC-chipped, NFT-linked Dunk Genesis, a digital-to-physical sneaker that would make Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future 2 so jealous he’d get back in Doc Brown’s Delorean and head straight to the present. With an exclusive (and very on-brand) drop at ComplexCon in late November and a public drop a day later, the sneaker came loaded with options that continued to blur the lines between physical utility and digital access, including an NFC chip and interchangeable attachments that let you be the designer of your sneaker — and perhaps even your destiny.
The NFT marketplace that stocked more pixels than Whole Foods 🛍️
279-year-old auction house Sotheby's continues to set a standard for what art can and will look like in an increasingly digital world. Even with certain naysayers claiming the demise of NFTs, Sotheby's appeared unfazed — and the numbers didn't lie. In June, Dmitri Cherniak's The Goose (an Art Blocks-curated edition of his Ringers generative art collection) sold for $6.2 million at auction. And that was far from all: Mojito was proud to continue supporting Sotheby's and artists like Sam Spratt this year, whose Luci Collection and Monument Game continued reinventing the potential of physical art and immersive digital experiences.
Want to see your brand on this list in 2024? Mojito is here to help, and with us, you can tailor your brand experiences for mainstream users only, web3-natives, or both. Contact us below to get started — and we’ll see you in the new year. 🥳