John Cena Says WWE Merch/NFT Bundle Was 'Catastrophic Failure'
Consumers are starting to better understand what NFTs are. So, seeing them included in a traditional promotional marketing campaign is no longer a “Wait, what?” moment for the most part. But they’re still so new. We haven’t quite figured out exactly how they work with a promotional marketing campaign 100% of the time.
And even some of the most prolific and successful branding experts in the world miss every now and then. In this case, we’re talking about WWE star and all-around good guy John Cena, who helped put together a branded WWE merch bundle that included products like T-shirts, hats, wristbands, a championship belt, an autographed picture and an NFT.
— WWE (@WWE) August 22, 2021
Cena thought that this package would be a “once-in-a-lifetime fan experience.” Cena and the WWE obviously have done plenty of branded merchandise drops before, so pricing the physical aspect of it was relatively easy. They estimated that all of the products would be worth around $500-$600. But, that pesky NFT threw them off a bit.
The NFT bumped up the final asking price to, in their estimation, $1,000.
Between the variety of products and exclusivity, plus the big-name association with Cena, this was supposed to be a sure-fire hit.
But of the 1,000 bundles they created, they sold 37.
"I talk a lot about failure. This idea failed,” Cena said, according to ComicBook.com. “Why is it $1,000? Because myself and the folks at WWE thought $1,000 was a fair price point. We were wrong. We were absolutely wrong. (This shirt) is number zero of 500. I thought, 'With a value like that, the 500 will be gone.' We sold 37 of them. It was a catastrophic failure. I design all my stuff. I was super proud of this. I love the design. It's one of those instances where I put my heart and soul and did the design and was really close with the work and pieces and market research. 'Yes, it seems fair, I think it will be good.' It sucked. It absolutely failed. I took a chance and missed. I'm sorry because it's obvious that people like the design, but it's way too much."
We understand how NFTs work by now, but the pricing aspect of it and actual perceived value is sort of still in its infancy. They haven’t been around long enough for people to see one and just estimate an accurate price. They’re worth X amount of dollars because the market dictates that they are worth X amount of dollars, based purely on the exclusivity of it.
On paper, this is a clever way to integrate an NFT into a physical marketing campaign, something that will surely continue into the future. This is a hiccup for sure, but it’s not because of the NFT itself.
But, it also shows that an NFT being included in a bundle, even one as exciting as this for wrestling fans and at the height of NFT mania, isn’t enough to make it an automatic must-have, or rile up buyers waiting to pounce on anything NFT-related.