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Unboxing The First Phygital Drop Associated With Lacoste's UNDW3 NFT Customer Engagement Program

In this special episode of the Blockchain Journal podcast, host David Berlind embarks on another unboxing adventure featuring a factory-dropped polo shirt from Lacoste's NFT-based customer engagement and loyalty program (better known as UNDW3 or "Underwater"). David explains how he found his way to buying a UNDW3 NFT with Ether (a.k.a. ETH, the protocol token of Ethereum) and then, in an act of "token gating," was able to use that card to gain access to exclusive benefits and customer experiences that are only available to UNDW3 NFT holders.

Blockchain Customer Experience (BCE)

Customer Engagement


Augmented Reality

By David Berlind

Published: February 15, 2024

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15 min read

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In this detailed unboxing transcript, Berlind showcases the physical items and delves into the underlying mechanisms of NFT-based loyalty programs, emphasizing co-creation and the fusion of physical and digital realms. Through his candid exploration, Berlind offers valuable insights for businesses considering NFTs as a tool for customer engagement and loyalty enhancement, ultimately illustrating the evolving landscape of brand-consumer relationships in the digital age.



Audio-Only Podcast



Full-text transcript of David Berlind's unboxing of Lacoste's first UNDW3 phygital drop

Today is Monday, February 5th, 2024. I'm David Berlind, and this is the Blockchain Journal podcast, a special unshaven, unshowered version because I'm getting my degen on again.

Now, the last time I got my degen on, I unboxed a bunch of cool stuff that I got from the Starbucks Odyssey program. Now, Starbucks didn't actually give this to me. What happened was... I've been participating in the Starbucks Odyssey NFT program. It's a customer engagement and loyalty program that Starbucks has been running. And I participated in it throughout all of 2024 [Editor's Note: David misspoke. He should have said 2023], earned a bunch of points. And at the end of the year, I got some benefits from earning those points. And one of those benefits was this hoodie. And, of course, a bunch of other stuff that I unboxed in the last video. We'll put a link to that video on this video, maybe up in the corner there.

And so now I'm here to give you another unboxing video of something else that I got last year as a result of my participation in another customer loyalty and engagement program based on NFTs. And that is with the company Lacoste.

Now, many of you probably are familiar with the company Lacoste. When I was a kid, it was really cool to wear their shirts. We called them alligator shirts, and one of the things, of course, that I learned from participating in the Lacoste NFT program. This is always an outcome of the various NFT programs. You learn things.

For example, with Starbucks, you learn that the logo, the little woman in the logo is not necessarily a mermaid. She's a siren, which is a kind of a mermaid. But in the case of Lacoste, I learned that the alligators that are on the breast of their polo shirts is not really an alligator. It's a crocodile. Who knew? Well, now I know, and I tell other people, "Hey, that's a crocodile, not necessarily an alligator."

So that's one benefit of these programs, at least a benefit to the brands that run them is that it helps to educate their customers and their audience about the brand, about what the brand stands for, about the logo, about the history.

And so, part of my participation in the Lacoste NFT program was just that. You get to go around, you have to go on missions, and you get to learn a little bit about the company background.

Now, somewhere along the way, you have to pick up an NFT, and you have to buy it on the open market. At least I did. It's called the UNDW3 card, and I believe that UNDW3 is pronounced "Underwater", the UNDW3 card. And so I picked that card up on OpenSea, and once I bought that card, by the way, you buy it with ETH, so I had to buy some ETH or get a hold of some ETH, and then I had to go ETH being the protocol token, the fungible protocol token of Ethereum, and then I had to basically tie my wallet, my MetaMask wallet, to the UNDW3 Lacoste site, and once I had those two things tied in, the site then basically figured out – there's a little bit of a process there, we won't go into it now – that yes, I am a holder of an underwater card, and then it allowed me access to certain areas and to their missions that other users wouldn't normally get.

They call that token gating. They basically are saying, "Hey, look! David can have access to this area because David's a holder of this token, and we're able to verify it." Now, they used a technology called Collab.Land to do that, but the point being is that the whole experience is token gated.

So, I spent my time going around looking at the various missions that I could accomplish so I could earn some points. There was a bit of a competition in the site, and eventually, somewhere along the way, Lacoste decided that they were going to do what they call the Factory Drop of some new apparel that's specifically tied to the UNDW3 program.

Now, the apparel that they dropped was one polo shirt and also a combination of sweatpants and a hoodie to go with that. [It's] kind of like this hoodie that I'm wearing from Starbucks and you even had your choice of colors.

Now, these were not inexpensive items. They were charging a lot of money. For example, the polo shirt was $125. I couldn't believe that. I've never spent $125 in my life on a polo shirt. But, just to experience the program and see how it works and share that with you – especially for you global brands and enterprises that want to get a better idea of how this works – I went ahead and I splurged and I bought one of these polo shirts.

Now, these polo shirts are not available to everybody. You only had to be an UNDW3 cardholder in order to get access to the e-commerce functionality where you can buy these shirts, and when I went in, I was able to kind of poke around and look at the hoodie, look at the sweatpants, make a decision, and I decided on the polo shirt mainly because of all the items it was the least expensive of them. And I went ahead and I decided to pull the trigger on that particular item. So that's something that they did.

One of the things that they point out when you go through this journey of acquiring these is that these three items were co-created with the community. Now, this is something else that a lot of these global brands are trying to do with their NFT-based loyalty and customer engagement programs, is they're trying to say this is about co-creation. This isn't just about a broadcast model, which is often the case. With a lot of customer loyalty programs. "Hey, come get our Starbucks cup of coffee. We'll give you some extra stars. We're broadcasting to you." No, this is about co-creation.

One of the places that Lacoste is using to get together with the community is Discord. In fact, Discord is used with a lot of NFT programs so that the people who run those programs for the global brands can communicate with the people who are participating in the programs – like me, or you, or anybody else. Through these programs, they start to get involved in this idea of co-creation. "Hey, what would you like? What should it look like? How should we make this available to you?"

And so, Lacoste says that these three items – these three items of apparel – the hoodie, the sweatpants, and the UNDW3 polo shirt were all outcomes of this co-creation that was a part of their NFT-based customer loyalty and engagement program.

So, without further ado, what I want to do is I want to unbox this. I've got the box here. Now, this came to me last year, and I've just been waiting a long time to get my degen on and unbox this video. So, let's go ahead and unbox it.

The box came like this. It comes in a... there's a handy-dandy ripper here thing to unbox it, so I'm going to go ahead and open it up. This is the first time I'm gonna see this, so let's give it an open here. Look at that. So you can see that... I don't know if you can see this. I'm going to hold it up for you, but there's Lacoste branding on the inside but then there's looks like no... I don't see any specific branding to the UNDW3 program. It's just Lacoste branding here. I'll kind of hold that up to the camera so you can see that. There you go. All right. So now let's go ahead and open this up... Oooh!

Now, theoretically, some people, if they did it early enough, would get these stickers that were co-created with the help of an artist. Her name is Aurélien Jeanney, I think. I don't know if I'm pronouncing that correctly, but here, you can see that I did get the envelope with the stickers, I think. So you can see that.

Sometimes when you see in a program where you see the name of the program, like UNDW3 "Underwater," with an X and then some other name, it means that the brand collaborated with that other name to produce something. And in this case, it looks like Lacoste and the UNDW3 program collaborated with Aurélien Jeanney and I don't know if I'm pronouncing that right. I'm getting my French on in addition to my degen. And here are the stickers that we got. So, let's take a look at those stickers. There's this one here, and this one here.

A little extra benefit for the people who jumped on the chance. I think this is only a limited edition. It was only available to a certain number of people, and you just had to be an early mover when you went ahead and purchased one of the items. Here's the last one. [I'm] holding that up for you. Pretty cool, some stickers, so I'm going to put that back in the envelope here, and I'm going to set that aside.

And now, we're going to take out this box. [A] really nice little box here, and I just want to show you the branding on the box. So, there's the branding on the box and, we turn this over. It's obviously a French brand. You've got all sorts of information on the box here. "INNOVATING", "DARING TO TAKE RISKS" is what it says there. So clearly, that's a sign that Lacoste feels like it's innovating with this NFT program and taking risks.

So, let's go ahead now and let's open it up. Ooh! Look at this. Very nice! It's wrapped in some paper here, and here you go. Here's a little card that says it's a Factory Drop. Now, on the back, I'm going to read it to you. First I'll show it to you and even if you can scan the QR code off of the video maybe you'll see where that takes you. But basically, in the front of the card, it says Lacoste "Underwater 3", UNDW3, Factory Drop, Polo Black and this is the authenticity label.

That's what this is. So this is the thing that says this is an authentic UNDW3 three Lacoste polo shirt. Now on the back here it says, "This factory drop product is associated to a digital product passport existing as an NFT. By taking ownership of this NFT, you will unlock the ability to verify the product authenticity, prove your ownership and obtain detailed and transparent product information. How to claim: Use your smartphone to scan the QR code, enter the public wallet address, or use your ENS. If you don't have one, you can create one by downloading the Arianee app. Claim your digital product passport and unlock all its enriched features." And so again, here's what it says.

So this is basically an attempt by Lacoste to do what they call a "phygital twinning" or tying of the physical product to the digital version of it, the digital NFT. And so, while I'm talking about this here, I'll talk a little bit about [the] phygital program, but I'm also going to put some B-roll up that shows me scanning the QR code and seeing where that takes us to see how we do that kind of marriage of this physical item to the digital item, the digital NFT.

A lot of programs use their NFTs as a Certificate of Authenticity, and that's what's happening here. You're sort of making this marriage between the physical product – a specific physical product – this one here, and the digital NFT in a way that the digital NFT becomes like a certificate of authenticity for the physical product. You can imagine how this could be done in a lot of different industries. Certificates of Authenticity can be used with cars, for example – the title to a car. All sorts of ideas can be applied when you're thinking about how NFTs can be used as not just a collection thing, which is how they kind of got started, but also play an actual role.

You know, if you think about, for example, the very expensive purses and wallets – companies like Coach and Gucci – this would be a big deal. How do you prove that the actual item is an authentic item as opposed to one that was picked up on the street corner in New York City where they're selling these counterfeit items? Well, you can marry the physical item to an NFT. You can put something in the physical item, like an NFC chip or QR code, that does that. And so, that's kind of where a lot of different companies are heading with NFTs. They're thinking about how to use the NFT as not only a collectible item and something that people can have fun with and be the source of customer engagement and loyalty but also can prove the authenticity of some item that's very heavily counterfeited out there. And of course, as I said, that often happens with brands like Gucci and Coach and other brands that make these really expensive high-end fashion items.

All right, so let's move on. We'll go ahead and we'll open up this. I'm just tearing the paper. Very nice tissue paper. And, here we have it. Here's the shirt. I'll hold it closer to the camera here, above me.  Just so you guys know how I do these videos, I have a camera in front of me, obviously, because you can see that, but I also have one mounted to the ceiling of the studio it's a GoPro.

Okay, so I'm going to open this up [and] pull it out of the bag. Let's take a look at the bag real quick to see if there's any specific markings that have to do with the UNDW3 program. And, no. I don't see any. The bag does have the Lacoste brand on it right there.

Okay, now look at this. This is a very nice shirt. And, as you can see, it's got the UNDW3 Lacoste branding on the shirt, and then you can see the labeling here, and we can also see some more labeling that this is the Factory Frop, and a lot of QR codes here. So I'm looking at this one. This says, "Find out more about this." Just a couple of labels, nothing terribly fancy here. I think this is sort of just standard labels that they put on all of their apparel. But what's really interesting is... look at this right here.

Okay, so this is connected to the shirt, and it's on the outside. Is it on the outside of the shirt? Yeah, it's down at the bottom of the shirt. So I'm just going to kind of hold this up for you here. Here's the shirt. It's down at the bottom. I'm just going to turn it around here real quick. You can see the QR code thing. But this is the QR code that is literally tying the shirt to the NFT. And so, I'll just kind of undo it here a little bit more. Oh cool! Also, on the back of the shirt is the crocodile. So there you have it. This is the $165  or... $125 polo shirt.

And so maybe what I can do now is just see where the QR code takes me. So, I'm going to go ahead and get my phone out and let's go ahead and scan the QR code. Alright. And, what it's bringing up, I don't know if you can see this or not, but it's taking me to the Lacoste UNDW3 site, and it says that Snapchat is better on this app, so they're using Snapchat. There, I'm going to hold it up to you. And now let's go ahead and... I don't have Snapchat. I'm not a user – or am I? Yeah, I am, as a matter of fact.

All right, and let's see where it takes me. Okay, now it's asking me to scan the badge. I'm assuming that's what I have to do here. So, let's go ahead and scan the badge. I have to turn the camera over. And it's telling me to swap the camera, so I did that, but it's having difficulty focusing. It doesn't seem to be working, so I'll try to figure that out offline. This is really just an unboxing video. I was hoping that maybe that we could get that working really well, but not for this video. I'll try to put some B-roll in after if I can figure it out...

Here's a bit of that B-roll. And what I was supposed to do is was I supposed to scan the actual badge that's on the shirt, and as you can see, after scanning it, it gave me a bit of an augmented reality experience where it made my eyes glow green and I've got a crocodile sitting on my shoulder and it's giving me a little bit of an augmented reality experience within Snapchat.

But, the key is that the idea of this, if I remember correctly, was not only to kind of make that tie between the physical item and the NFT, but also to start some other journey that's exclusive to UNDW3 program members.

So, there you have it. [I] got my degen on once again, looking forward to trying to get more of my degen on across 2024. Basically, I'm just participating in the programs like anybody else could. This is not some sort of video where Lacoste is paying us or anything like that, [it's] all my own money, just so you can see how these programs work and you can see how these programs work, [to] give you some ideas of how you might be doing this in the future if you decide to go forward with your plans to use NFTs as the basis of your customer loyalty and engagement.

So, for Blockchain Journal, I'm David Berlind. We'll see you on the next video.

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