In the high-end luxury market where money is not an object, it’s sometimes about the things that cash cannot buy. Tech magnate Elon Musk recently reflected on his past spending and shared his new perspective about the primacy of experiences over commodities.
Tasked with designing products that transcend the commonplace, brands are now assigning the latest technology to deliver timeless experiences for their top-tier clientele—a class of 15 million big spenders worth trillions of dollars.
NFTs as status and social capital
In one interesting use case, Amber Lounge, a luxury lifestyle company, has started to offer lifetime VIP club membership non-fungible tokens (NFTs) with access to its exclusive high-profile events, according to CEO Cher Ng.
Amber Lounge, which is pitching NFTs as the next big thing on the high-end nightlife scene, hosts luxury events around the Formula One universe, offering an exclusive platform for A-list celebrities and athletes to interact. Previous names at the firm’s events include Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian, Richard Branson, Gordan Ramsay, and others.
Its NFTs concept, named “Amber X,” is premised around exclusivity, with only 1,888 NFT memberships up for sale by invitation. Cher Ng said users buy status as the NFTs grant them lifetime access to high net-worth and influential individuals, including billionaires and celebrities.
While the blockchain spells financial investment destination for most people, Amber X’s angle is social capital. This follows the new emphasis in translating wealth to a dimension beyond money. Speaking to Be[In]Crypto, Cher Ng said:
“We do believe that these NFT memberships offer much value given that they will grant our members direct access to a community of high-profile and successful individuals through our Amber Lounge signature events, networking events, private dinners, and more. The fact that these are lifetime memberships also means that there is massive potential for that value to keep growing.”
Exclusivity via VIP clubs
With an estimated worth of $243 billion, the luxury goods market could help create space for exclusivity by providing customers with pre-launch access to special products. At brands like Gucci and Prada, the most valuable customers are offered unique shopping experiences and exclusive privileges.
VIP clubs capitalize on this exclusivity, which is the very appeal of VIP clubs – VIP Access, the opportunity to rub shoulders with celebrities and high society. Following the rise of NFTs over the past two years, interest is no longer just on the inclusive but also on the exclusive aspects of the blockchain, the status and cultural capital that the tokens confer on the highest bidders.
Cher Ng said that Amber X has set aside additional privileges for 30 exclusive “top-tier” NFT holders, including up to $30,000 worth of VIP tables at Amber signature events, private event invites, and limited-edition custom-designed champagne box set NFT drops.
He added that the initiative follows the acquisition of Amber Lounge by Catcha, a leading internet group in Southeast Asia, this year.
Amber Lounge’s post-match and trackside Formula One parties follow key destinations such as Monaco, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Mexico City and Shanghai, usually featuring an original Formula One drivers’ fashion show and an all-night party with live DJs. Over the next month, the company takes the experience to new cities, including Miami, Las Vegas, Bali, and Ibiza.
For the Grand Prix’s Singapore event this year, Amber Lounge will feature, “international music artists, immersive theatrical cabaret and cirque-themed performances,” Amber Group managing director Jeannette Tan told Be[In]Crypto.
The company will also accept a number of cryptocurrencies as payment, as it looks to expand to different events beyond the Grand Prix.
“Being 100% digital and paperless, one never has to worry about losing membership…it’s easily re-downloaded from the cloud,” Amber Lounge pointed out in a statement. “And thanks to blockchain technology, it is now possible to prove identity and membership with absolute certainty, even after membership has changed ownership in private sales or gifts.”
With Covid-19 receding, players in the high-end luxury marketplace are grounding their re-emergence in cutting-edge technology like the blockchain. The tech edge may well prove decisive in bringing millennial and generation Z big spenders on board.