Leading makeup brand MAC Cosmetics recently announced another collaboration with the Keith Haring Foundation in support of National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on 10 April. The partnership will feature three digital art non-fungible tokens (NFTs) of varying price, rarity, and utility, catapulting the cosmetics brand into the metaverse with purpose. This partnership has been thoughtfully crafted around a social cause close to both organisations – raising awareness and funds to support yo
youth affected by HIV/AIDS. The NFTs will be available between April and June, and 100 per cent of the purchase price of primary sales of the Viva Glam x Keith Haring NFT collection will be donated to the MAC Viva Glam Fund. Additionally, 2.5 per cent of the purchase price from all secondary sales on OpenSea will go to The Keith Haring Foundation, through to January 2023. Prominent blockchain software provider ConsenSys is helping bring the initiative to life. The NFTs start from $25 for the Rare NFT, $150 gets you the Exclusive NFT, and for those with a little extra cash to throw around, the Icon NFT can be yours for $1000. Customers who mint Exclusive NFTs will have access to a digital face chart tutorial for a Keith Haring-inspired makeup look created by a MAC senior artist, and owners of the Icon NFT are provided a 30-minute personalised MAC Artist consultation and complementary physical product. In late 2021, MAC released three Viva Glam lipsticks with the Keith Haring Foundation in red, blue and yellow. The primary colour palette is frequently used in the late artist’s works and the lipsticks can be blended to make many colour combinations. Coming together around global social causes such as HIV/AIDS enables MAC Viva Glam and the Keith Haring Foundation to keep their message top of mind, keep education accessible, and keep funding avenues consistent. This has been the case since the Viva Glam line commenced in 1994. It has also endured throughout Keith Haring’s career and as a part of the legacy he left behind with the foundation. Keith Haring and MAC Cosmetics are really a perfect match,” said Gil Vazquez, director of the Keith Haring Foundation. “Both the artist and the brand have long stood for equal rights and self-expression for everybody. We are happy to team up with MAC to continue supporting a cause he cared about so deeply.” Colouring outside the lines It’s within the brand DNA of MAC Cosmetics to stand for all ages, all races, all genders. Diversity and inclusivity in every possible way have been values for the brand since its inception. Its bold campaigns and unconventional attitudes toward beauty represent a wide array of makeup enthusiasts. The NFT project translates MAC’s core values into the metaverse. Driving artistic expression and purpose-led initiatives at price points accessible to a wide group of people. “This is exciting in so many ways,” MAC Cosmetics global chief marketing officer Aïda Moudachirou-Rebois said. “First, it is MAC’s first ever dab into the metaverse and the world of NFTs and we are thrilled to anchor it to giving back to a cause so close to the heart and soul of the brand. Additionally, we are honoured that the Keith Haring Foundation agreed to join forces with us to carry forward Haring’s mission of using art to drive positive change for those most in need of support and are proud that his legacy lives on through Viva Glam.” Incorporating utility into two of the NFTs connects the digital and physical worlds with something useful and relevant to MAC’s customers, and at the same time introduces a metaverse audience to MAC Cosmetics. As these worlds collide, blockchain technology and NFTs will be the backbone of many worthwhile initiatives and systems, offering layers of transparency, authentication and traceability. This will be particularly beneficial for purpose-led organisations. Putting your money where your lipstick is To date, the Viva Glam initiative has raised over half a billion dollars to fight HIV/AIDS, support the LGBTQIA+ community, empower girls and women, and advocate for equal rights and healthy futures. For 28 years, MAC has committed not only money but continued support and resources to these initiatives, proving it’s more than a cause marketing campaign, it has been a priority and a reflection of the founders’ values from early on. Since 1994, 100 per cent of the purchase price of a MAC Viva Glam lipstick has gone to the MAC AIDS Fund. MAC founders Frank Angelo and Frank Toskan launched the initiative in the early ’90s, when the AIDS pandemic peaked and was heavily impacting on the fashion industry and communities all over the world. The MAC AIDS Fund is a pioneer and the largest corporate non-pharmaceutical giver, it provides financial support to organisations working with underserved global communities. The initiative remained a key part of MAC after Estée Lauder Companies acquired it in 1994. As MAC moved under the umbrella of Estée Lauder, it grew exponentially, as did awareness of the MAC AIDS Fund and further support and initiatives. A useful vision for NFTs The Viva Glam x Keith Haring NFT collection is an example of a useful application of NFTs. We are still seeing concerns about the usefulness of NFTs. Many question why they would want a digital image of an ape or cartoon head. But it’s important to look past the cultural phenomenon to the long-term gain the technology can offer. There are significant possibilities around building community, deep engagement through loyalty and utility, and an opportunity to put a web3 lens over a brand to see what it could become in the very near future. The Viva Glam and Keith Haring Foundation NFT collection is an organic partnership focused on driving awareness around a social cause first and foremost, followed by ownership of unique digital art wrapped up in a verifiable digital token. NFTs are useful, we just need to think hard about why.