Have you ever been to Nikeland? Or Gucci Town? If not, get ready for a new level of costumer experience and advertising – in metaverse.
Nikeland and Gucci Town were two of the first manifests of mainstream metaverse commerce. The platform where you can find both is called Roblox, a game development environment, where users can create games and play those of each other, with numerous interactive elements, such as building virtual personas, avatars and creating group experiences.
What is even metaverse?
We can generally say that these metaverses are virtual reality platforms, but not all projects are equal, companies are developing their own unique projects with different goals and so far not interoperable systems. While Roblox focuses on game development, Niantic emphasizes augmented reality, NVidia puts production of hardware first, Meta’s metaverse is a virtual reality with focus on social interactions. Meta envisions friend circle get-togethers, but also professional meetings, onboardings taking place in metaverse, so much so that the development of a professional version of metaverse called Horizon Workrooms has been announced, which lets Oculus-wearing employees enter virtual offices and hold meetings.
Metaverse became a hot topic when in 2021 Mark Zuckerberg announced that Meta was pumping 10 billion dollars into development, and they are not stopping: with the company’s words they are planning to lose even more money on it in the future.
Nikeland and Gucci Garden
Despite Meta claiming they are burning money on this virtual reality platform, big brands are flooding the virtual realities with the vision of these platforms creating a new digital economy, and users can make, buy and sell goods, and it seems they tapped right into that popularity.
Nikeland, which has been initially a virtual event, had 21 million visitors from its opening in November 2021 until the end of September 2022. Vans launched a similar event in the autumn 2021 called Vans World, and Gucci already launched two of these events, Gucci Garden in 2021 and Gucci Town in 2022. During these events, often in real world like virtual stores users can buy or compete for branded items, and in many instances, they are not time-limited.
Brand activation – a new horizon
And list of brand activations is endless: Fortnite partnered with luxury brands Balenciaga and Polo Ralph Lauren, Coca-Cola and Chipotle celebrated their first year in metaverse and are already drawing conclusions. But what does brand activation mean in this environment, which is considered a gold mine for new marketing opportunities?
Besides the classic store format with virtual retail goods which was mentioned above, brands can create immersive experiences for costumers through timed events and meetups, but they can also benefit from connecting with them through social media, blogs and forums. Virtual reality offers tools to design interactive and engaging campaigns, where virtual influencers also appear.
Even though bigger brands are just exploring the branding possibilities on various virtual reality platforms, lists of top metaverse advertising agencies are surfacing – showing that it’s a valid and current direction in our profession. Its future impact on the industry is hardly predictable, but we are eager to see how these novelties are shaping our daily job.