The metaverse is the new internet frontier and popular brands are taking advantage of this evolving technology. Once companies finally understand what the metaverse is, how can they stand out among the many multiverses of metaverses (try saying that two times fast)?
In this article, we’ll discuss how top brands are approaching metaverse brand activations and industries making the largest strides. We’ll also give you a list of metaverse examples across industries to help inspire your strategy.
Metaverse brand activations: What they look like today
There are a lot of ways brands can join the metaverse, but most metaverse brand activations involve one or more of the following technologies:
- Virtual, immersive environments via metaverse platforms like Roblox or Decentraland
- Augmented and/or virtual reality experiences
- Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and other cryptocurrencies
- QR codes
This isn’t an all-encompassing list, but they’re the most common. Top brands use these technologies to carry out phygital marketing. Phygital marketing combines digital and physical tactics to curate unique experiences for consumers.
For example, Frito-Lay’s FIFA World Cup campaign leveraged the metaverse for a phygital experience. Consumers scan a QR code on a snack bag to join the Pass the Ball Challenge for a chance to win prizes, including an NFT. After scanning the code, users are prompted to take a selfie, which is placed on a digital soccer ball.
We're celebrating FIFA World Cup 2022™ w/ the "Pass the Ball Challenge". Fans across the U.S. can purchase specially marked FIFA World Cup Frito-Lay products for the chance to win a trip to the World Cup final! 18+ Grand Prize entry deadline: 11/10/22. More details below 👇🏽 pic.twitter.com/pVAV7QjHQE
— Frito-Lay (@Fritolay) October 25, 2022
Some companies are also considering working in the metaverse, using VR technology for employee engagement and meetings for remote workers.
Industries making strides in the metaverse
As with any new technological innovation, there are early adopters making strides in the metaverse. Here are a few industries that are already making their mark.
In the metaverse, real estate aficionados are trading cryptocurrency. People are buying and selling properties on metaverse platforms including Decentraland and the Sandbox, which is the largest metaverse real estate platform. Some plots even sell for millions of dollars.
EveryRealm, a metaverse real estate investor and advisory firm, paid $4.3 million for land in the Sandbox to develop Fanasty Islands, a collection of 100 one of a kind private island villas.
With a forward-thinking, creative culture, it’s no surprise the fashion world was one of the first industries to embrace the metaverse. Luxury fashion brands like Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana have launched exclusive digital clothing and NFTs to establish themselves as trailblazers in the metaverse. Even mass market brands like Pacsun have made heavy investment in connecting with audiences in the metaverse.
Pacsun kicked off its holiday marketing season with the PacVerse campaign. The PacVerse follows the success of the brands presence within PACWORLD on Roblox and Pacsun the Game, which was launched earlier in 2022. The brand extended experiences in PACWORLD with a holiday twist, offering features like a gift shop. Real-life experiences include in-store initiatives and a rooftop screening in Los Angeles.
The holistic campaign stretched across all of Pacsun’s digital and social channels including exclusive content on YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and Discord. The campaign also leans on creator marketing, tapping Brooke Monk, Mathieu Simoneau and virtual influencer Miquela.
Then there’s decentralization autonomous organizations like the Metaverse Fashion Council (MFC) who are actively curating events and cultivating professional networks for the metaverse. MFC founded and hosted the first Metaverse Fashion Week.
Big-box retailers have also created metaverse brand activations. Macy’s created a virtual version of its annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. The event featured five NFT project galleries and allowed users to vote on a parade balloon NFT, which will be turned into a physical one at next year’s event.
— Olive Allen 👽 (@IamOliveAllen) November 24, 2022
Target held several metaverse activations in 2022. In June, they hosted a Pride month activation to celebrate and amplify LBGTQIA+ voices. In October, they brought the viral #GothTarget to the metaverse via Meta Horizon Worlds to celebrate spooky season.
The retailer also enables users to envision home decor and furniture in their homes with a virtual reality feature on their shopping app.
Miller Lite became the first brand to create a bar in the metaverse, but other brands in the alcohol industry are helping people enjoy a cold one in this emerging digital space.
Corona tapped in on nostalgia for its 2022 holiday marketing campaign by centering its iconic 1990 Christmas ad, “O’Tannenpalm” (below).
The O’Tannenpalm Tree Lot virtual experience offers users a chance to explore a Corona-themed holiday wonderland using augmented reality. For example, users can place a virtual holiday palm tree in their own spaces, along with several interactive features. The beer brand also plans to host giveaways.
But this isn’t the only AR experience Corona has offered. Last year, they launched Plastic Reality to showcase plastic footprints and sustainability tips.
Music and Entertainment
Similar to the fashion industry, the music and entertainment industry was one of the first adopters of metaverse marketing. Popular artists like Ariana Grande and Megan thee Stallion have hosted concerts in the metaverse.
IHeartMedia plans to host several events in their metaverse concert arena. The media company kicked off the launch of IHeartLand with a two-part performance by Grammy-nominated singer Charlie Puth, which was followed by a real life album release party. Beyond concerts, users can snap selfies on a red carpet and play mini-games.
Metaverse examples: Expanding across industry lines
The forward-thinking culture of the fashion and gaming industry has allowed social media leaders and marketers to lead the way for brand activations in the metaverse. However, there is an opportunity for other industries to break into the metaverse as well.
Here are some metaverse examples from brands across various industries:
1. Food: McCain Foods
McCain Foods partnered with Roblox and Bored & Hungry to launch Regen Fries as a part of the #SaveOurSocial initiative. The goal is to educate and engage younger consumers about regenerative agriculture and issues facing the farming community.
With Roblox, the potato manufacturer created the Farms of the Future game, which allows players to grow potatoes using regenerative farming methods. When players apply regenerative methods like planting cover crops or rotational grazing, they are rewarded in the game.
Bored & Hungry is the world’s first NFT-backed restaurant group and provided the real life portion of the activation. In October and November 2022, the restaurant served Regen Fries at its flagship location, along with several pop-up shops in London and Toronto. These limited-time potato pop-ups serve as an example of how brands can merge real-life experiences with the metaverse.
🟢 ALL SYSTEMS GREEN 🟢
Introducing REGEN FRIES, the world's first sustainably farmed french fries brought to you by Mccain Foods! Come by to be the first to try them throughout November
🥔 Exclusive new REGEN FRIES dipping sauces
🍟 Limited edition packaging & merch pic.twitter.com/VoqUTgClit
— Bored & Hungry | Home of America's Best Burger (@BorednHungry) October 28, 2022
2. Sports: NFL
The NFL and long-term partner Visa created the NFL Zone, a destination within Fornite Creative, a sandbox game. The NFL Zone features two mini-games based on virtual tailgating experiences and other popular Fortnite activities. As an official NFL sponsor, Visa has a virtual stadium in the game.
The NFL has plans to launch a content series with several creators across sports and gaming. The league also plans to leverage the social media following of NFL players to increase awareness.
The NFL Zone is one of many metaverse activities the league has adopted. The goal of this activation is to create a social hub to engage with Gen-Zers and nurture a new generation of football fans—a demographic the league has often struggled to attract.
3. Finance: Mastercard
Mastercard held a multi-channel campaign with Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever to spotlight Black-owned small business owners. They launched an immersive experience via Meta Horizon Worlds to connect consumers with small businesses through activities designed to bring their brand stories to life.
The heroes we see every day running small businesses inspire the heroes of tomorrow. Because when you see the superhero you can be, that’s #Priceless.
— Mastercard (@Mastercard) October 24, 2022
This activation builds on Mastercard’s previous diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, including the Strivers Initiative, a platform dedicated to supporting Black women-owned businesses.
4. Footwear: Snap x New Balance
Snap and New Balance released a lens that uses speech recognition and augmented reality to give gift recommendations from footwear to accessories. The Holiday Gifting Concierge Lens has several modes for users to explore. In the worldview mode, users experience an AR unboxing that displays a recommendation.
Although you can’t click a link while using the lens, if you go to New Balance’s Snapchat profile and go to “Shop,” users can view items for sale and receive a link to their website to purchase.
Learn from brands in the metaverse
There are two key takeaways for brands exploring metaverse strategy going into 2023:
1) Prioritize accessibility
Even when targeting niche audiences try to avoid complex requirements to join the brand activation, like cryptocurrency or blockchain technology. You want a wide range of consumers to feel compelled to interact or play.
2) Consider a blended reality experience
What makes phygital marketing alluring is the ability to offer unique opportunities or perks that wouldn’t be typically available. Consider how your brand can merge the digital and physical.
Learn how to create these stand-out experiences with our guide on how to join the metaverse.
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