BMW’s latest spectacle, an i5 M60 dubbed the ‘Ape Car’, was unveiled at ApeFest 2023 in Hong Kong. To the amazement of attendees, the sporty electric vehicle was transformed into a canvas for ape caricatures, emblematic of the NFT craze.
Table of Contents
The Ape Car
The ape-themed BMW marks another vital marketing strategy by Yuga Labs, the parent company of the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC).
The partnership had been previously teased in a cryptic tweet, leading many ape fans to speculate about the nature of the collaboration.
The German automaker isn’t a stranger to blockchain. The BMW brand has been associated with several NFT ventures and the company itself uses blockchain technology to manage its supply chain.
The decision to embrace digital trends with a “digital wrap” of its i5 M60 may still bewilder some traditionalists, but BMW’s flourishing sales tell a story of success. Outselling competitors like Mercedes and Audi, BMW’s innovative approaches in Munich are paying dividends in the marketplace.
The BMW Ape Car, reminiscent of the i Vision Dee concept with its E Ink technology, has sparked a blend of nostalgia and controversy. The i Vision Dee, capable of changing its body panels’ colors, was a CES hit earlier in January 2023, indicating a pattern of avant-garde aesthetics in BMW’s design philosophy.
ApeFest in the heart of Hong Kong
The festival’s venue, Hong Kong’s repurposed Kai Tak airport, is now a symbol of the city’s transformation and the burgeoning interest in web3 technologies. As the first ApeFest held outside the US, it represents a significant move to captivate Asia’s vast NFT market.
Despite the celebratory atmosphere, Yuga Labs has faced its share of challenges. The once-booming NFT market has cooled, with the floor price of Bored Apes plummeting. Amidst the downturn, Yuga Labs’ recent layoffs suggest a strategic pivot to ensure long-term viability.
A highlight of the event was the presence of Greg Solano, Yuga Labs co-founder. His announcement of a partnership with Magic Eden to launch a royalty-enforcing marketplace was met with enthusiasm—a testament to the ongoing debate about NFT royalties and the rights of creators.
While the festival featured beautiful NFT artwork, some attendees were left with sore eyes. Due to the intense UV lighting used during the festival, a small number of ape fans reported severe eye pain and skin burns and had to receive medical attention the next day.
Yet, despite the setbacks, the festival was a tremendous success and a testament to the exuberance of Yuga Labs. Whether the event had an impact outside the NFT bubble remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: the BMW “Ape Car” has had its moment in the neon-lit spotlight.