Even more than its slick cars and the Spirit of Ecstasy, Rolls-Royce knows that its greatest asset is its heritage. That's why, before it introduces a new "product," Rolls-Royce is celebrating the legacy of Black Badge with the company's first-ever NFT.
For those not in the know, Black Badge is Rolls' top-of-the-line customization offering for mere mortals — while the ultra-ultra-rich may indulge in Coachbuild, Black Badge is very much cut from the same customized cloth.
Overseen by the enigmatic Rolls-Royce Bespoke Collective, Black Badge offers deep-pocketed clients the opportunity to make their Rolls-Royces even more special — if this sounds terribly exclusive, that's the point.
Rolls claims inspiration from the likes of Rick Owens, COMME des GARÇONS, and Yohji Yamamoto for the initial Black Badge experiments, which darkened the visage of Wraiths and Cullinans to meet client demands.
"Black Badge represents a natural evolution for a brand that is defined by a culture of collaboration with its clients," said Rolls-Royce Chief Executive Officer, Torsten Müller-Ötvös.
"Black Badge is not a sub-brand. It is an attitude that represents an authentic and confident response to the desires of a new group of clients who proudly practice bold self-expression."
Since its inception in 2016, Black Badge has shifted from a focus on darker hues to the occasional flashy finish requested by its "increasingly younger, more rebellious Rolls-Royce clientele."
At its core, though, Black Badge will always epitomize the ideologies that Rolls-Royce holds dear: peerless quality and opulence in a timeless package.
So, it seemed fitting to the company to comission a piece of art as enduring as its automobiles. Illustrated by Mason London, Rolls-Royce's one-off NFT epitomizes a nonconformist ethos through a living, musical animation.
Hip youths populate sneaker stores and art galleries amidst a trendy urban backdrop while a couple smooches in the entrance of a bar and a well-heeled house party materializes on a distant hilltop. This ain't your grandpa's Rolls-Royce.
Or is it? Rolls-Royce insists that rebelliousness is baked into the brand's DNA by its founders, citing Sir Henry Royce's humble origins and C. S. Rolls indifference to Cambridge niceties, which earned him the nickname "Dirty Rolls."
According to Rolls-Royce, Rolls collectors collect all things Rolls-Royce, so an NFT is the epitome of covetable treasure, a unique creation that'll never age or degrade and is permanently tied to the owner.
The original NFT file will be stored on an encrypted wallet that's stashed under lock and key within Rolls-Royce's Goodwood Home and there may be some interesting initiatives related to the NFT down the road, though Rolls-Royce is playing its cards close to its chest.
Plenty of wild NFT investments crop up each week but there are more intentional uses, as well. Some larger companies have leveraged NFTs to benefit independent creators while others make the most of NFT exclusivity, as Rolls-Royce is doing here.
If nothing else, it's a headline-worthy teaser before the larger announcement scheduled for October 28.