Big brands are trying to enter the metaverse. They need to be cautious on this new front, and at the same time be prepared to take risks (Image: Pixabay.com)
In his cult 1992 sci-fi novel “Snow Crash,” author Neal Stephenson conjures up a virtual reality full of avatars and advertisements. He calls his literary vision a metaversion, filled with “signs of frankness”, connecting the inhabitants of the world in a “loglo”, indulging in futuristic virtual experiences.
The reality described in the book slowly becomes the truth before our eyes. Stephenson’s prophecy consists of a complex network of virtual platforms. The concept is derived from games such as Fortnite and Roblox, owned by the users themselves. The expanded or new reality, a little anarchist, which stems from gaming, tempts the brand. Brave companies are increasingly implementing solutions straight from science fiction history into their marketing plans.
A few months ago, beer producer Miller Lite hosted its announcement during the Super Bowl in the Metaverse. This is a response to the impossibility of broadcasting advertising in the traditional way on television. Competitive beer is presented exclusively as a sponsor of the NFL. Therefore, Miller Lite designed a virtual bar in the 3D world of Decentraland, and the new brand advertisement was created there – on the TV screens of a digital bar. It seems the strategy paid off – visitors to the bar spent an average of 20 minutes ‘in the ad’, which shows the power of this medium and gives a fresh feeling of an unconventional approach.
However, this is not an isolated case of recent months. Big brands are trying to enter the metaverse. Heineken has also opened its virtual brewery in Decentraland. The measures taken were announced on March 17 during the first global press conference in the metaverse.
Additionally, on Halloween 2021, restaurant chain Chipotle opened a store in Roblox as part of a promotion. The idea resulted in the biggest digital sales in the brand’s history. Tressie Lieberman, vice president of digital marketing and sales at Chipotle, believes the dynamic nature of the metaverse fits perfectly into the new era of marketing. However, she stresses that now is the time to learn what needs to be communicated authentically and openly to customers. Chipotle worked closely with an innovative game studio and social media agency to create the Roblox campaign.
Last December, Disney filed a patent for a “virtual world simulator” that recreates one of its theme parks in 3D. Users can navigate through a virtual 3D experience without having to carry an AR augmented reality viewing device. In other words, Disney has already begun to integrate the physical, digital and virtual worlds. Its wrist device, the MagicBand+, allows guests to engage in new ways and experience new interactive attractions straight out of fairy tales.
A key lesson brands can learn from trying to become a metaverse is that experimenting with a new form of advertising shouldn’t disrupt the brand experience because it will have the opposite effect than intended. The bottom line is that advertising becomes entertainment and the boundaries are subtly blurred, just as happened in the case of Lego film productions.
Coca-Cola has partnered with Tafi to design wearable virtual devices for the world’s first meta-world of invariant token (NFT) collectors. All this to celebrate the International Day of Friendship. Coca-Cola has put up an NFT treasure chest at an OpenSea auction containing digital clothing that can be worn in the virtual world of Decentraland. The Coca-Cola Friendship Box was a redesigned version of a collectible soda vending machine. After opening the trunk, you could find a futuristic Coca-Cola Bubble Jacket Wearable, a sound visualization and a friendship card inspired by Coca Trading Cards – Cola straight from the 1940s. Many Internet users found this campaign too sophisticated , and the entry threshold too complicated.
Brands need to be careful on this new front, and at the same time be prepared to take risks. Metaverse is more than just a digital simulation of the real world. It is an attempt to recreate brand assets and interact with consumers in virtual spaces. Just as in the age of social media brands have had to adapt to driving conversations, we can expect new forms of immersive experiences to emerge soon, which are born into the metaverse.
Marketing is entering a new reality that temporarily resembles the Wild West. Who will benefit the most? Probably those brands that won’t be afraid of risk, but we’ll analyze that in a decade.
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