Nike Files Trademark for 'Virtual Merchandise' Like Apparel, Bags, Accessories
If a brand like Nike is doing something, it’s a safe bet that others will copy it.
Nike isn’t the first to explore the idea of “virtual merchandise”—digital apparel and items for video games and other virtual settings—but the fact that it’s still working on ways to implement it shows that it’s not a flash in the pan trend either.
Fortune reported that Nike filed trademarks in October for digital headwear, eyewear, bags, backpacks and sports products under the Nike and Jordan brands that would include the iconic Swoosh and Jumpman logos, as well as the “Just Do It” slogan.
Nike files for 7 ‘virtual goods’ trademarks for branding in NFTs and video games like Fortnite https://t.co/STYfKP5MvU
— FORTUNE (@FortuneMagazine) November 2, 2021
These would likely be used in video games with heavy in-game purchasing and customization, like Fortnite or sports games like NBA 2K.
There’s no firm plan about how Nike will use this, but if previous campaigns like this are any indication, it’s realistic to think that they’ll incorporate real-world products into the game, so players can deck their avatars out with gear they own (or want) in real life.
With the continued boom of NFTs, too, collectibles can coexist virtually and physically, paving the way for more brands like this to start a virtual arm of their branded merchandise efforts.
We're already seeing more brands exploring the possibilities there. Coca-Cola experimented with a "digital vending machine" that dispensed branded bubble jackets—or, rather, NFT versions of them. Other brands, like the Los Angeles Dodgers and Uniqlo (with its "Animal Crossing" line), have released digital merchandise with a physical counterpart.
The average small business will most likely never need virtual merchandise on this scale, if at all. But for the world's biggest brands, it's an intriguing option—and a potentially lucrative one.