Around 770 people were convinced to spend a combined almost €1.5 million (~$1.66 million) on NFTs of teddy bears, which sold for around €1,250 each (~$1,380). Buyers were told they would become "co-producers" of the Plush animated film, which would star Kev Adams and other French comedians as voice actors. Adams led the promotion of the NFT project, along with a mysterious figure called "Fabi". Other French celebrities and influencers were also involved in touting the project, and Bella Thorne and Amaury Nolasco were listed on the site as "US voices" for the project.
The NFT buyers — er, "co-producers" — were promised credit in the film credits, voting rights on the script, and a split of 80% of the profits. "Although there is nothing guaranteed, on average, you will make six to seven times what you put in 24 months. Which is huge, when you think, you go to the Caisse d'Epargne, a traditional bank, and you make less than 1% in the year," said one promotional video.
A report from French investigative newspaper Mediapart discovered that the project was backed by a Dubai-registered company called "Illuminart", which played on confusion between its name and that of the France-based Universal Studios subsidiary Illumination. An Illuminart marketing campaign even used Illumination titles, such as The Lorax, Minions, and Despicable Me, and their box office proceeds to suggest Plush buyers were in for a 516% profit.
Meanwhile, the project has gone silent, and its Twitter account last posted in September 2022. NFTs are no longer offered for sale on the official project website, and Illuminart's business license has expired.