Metaverse madness: What brands are doing to cut through the noise – Marketing Dive

As marketers rush to plant a flag on the still-nascent space, lessons about what is and isn't working have begun to emerge.
The marketing news cycle this year has been inundated with announcements from brands around their plans for the metaverse, the nascent idea of a channel that can blend real and virtual worlds seamlessly together. Activations have spanned packaged goods, quick-service restaurants, retail and fashion verticals and made platforms like Decentraland, The Sandbox, Meta’s Horizon Worlds, Fortnite and Roblox into household names (for marketers, at least).
Despite the flurry of activity, many brands have struggled to differentiate their metaverse activations, some of which seem like slapdash efforts thrown together to avoid missing the bandwagon. Still, well-executed plays represent an opportunity for brands to experiment with how they will be able to meet consumer needs in the future, whether it be through ties to real-world rewards, hybrid events or diversity and inclusion initiatives. Nearly six in 10 (59%) consumers are excited about transitioning everyday activities, like shopping and attending events, to the metaverse, with a similar number of metaverse-aware companies (57%) already adopting the concept, according to a new report by McKinsey & Company.
The metaverse is expected to be worth $5 trillion by 2030, per the McKinsey report — despite the fact that it doesn’t really exist yet. That expansion will support growth in e-commerce ($2.6 trillion), advertising ($206 billion) and gaming ($125 billion).
“The metaverse is about creating worlds and experiences that you want to go to, that you’re drawn to,” said Ginny Ziegler, Accenture’s chief marketing officer in North America. “It’s not going to be about better headsets, more realistic visual renderings, faster network speeds, more intelligent engines or the next TikTok or Fortnite… What’s really going to make the metaverse real is the adoption of the experiences that it enables and the propositions that it brings to life.”
Even in this nascent stage, the development of metaverse brand activities are shadowed by the market corrections and crashes impacting related areas including cryptocurrency and nonfungible tokens. As with any experimental marketing spend, metaverse activations will face questions over their degree of risk, budget allocation and outcomes. But that doesn’t mean that crashes elsewhere should impede experiments in the metaverse.
“If you’re aligned to the opportunity cost of what you’re going to put into the world, and if you’re actually creating opportunity for the community that you’re there to support, it’s probably a good bet,” said Hall Carlough, vice president and head of creative strategy at Web3 marketing agency Invisible North.
Below, Marketing Dive has gathered some of the most significant brand activations in the metaverse that point to how the space could evolve and meet industry expectations going forward.
The chain claims the activation is the first time a brand has let users of the metaverse platform exchange in-experience currency for real-world items. Read the full article
Publicis worked with Samsung on a Decentraland experience that proved prescient as CES saw major exhibitors and attendees pull out last minute due to omicron concerns. Read the full article
A virtual celebration in The Sandbox is complemented by real-world activations, including a public drag show and mural painting in Los Angeles. Read the full article
The sandwich chain teamed with agency Anomaly to create a restaurant in Decentraland where users can build a custom “Metasandwich.” Read the full article
The Unilever deodorant brand is working with Decentraland to help create a standard of inclusivity and representation in the metaverse. Read the full article
An array of activities across three floors of Absolut.Land are designed to reflect the brand's history while driving hype in the real world and the metaverse. Read the full article
The custom space features a virtual iteration of its real-world design lab and varied biomes for visitors to explore wearing experimental “Metaboots.” Read the full article
The Meta Lite Bar will open its virtual doors in Decentraland on Feb. 7, giving patrons the chance to win $500 in cash — not cryptocurrency. Read the full article
With Gucci Town, the luxury brand is demonstrating its commitment to the metaverse with a hub that will evolve over time. Read the full article
Developed with Publicis Italy and Le Pub, the activation leans into metaverse hype and boasts "no calories, no hidden ingredients, and no beer." Read the full article
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Once-promising categories like crypto went silent due to an economic rout, while much of media investment flowed to performance channels that don’t inspire much in the imagination.  
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Topics covered: social media, mobile, advertising, marketing tech, content marketing, and more.
The commercialized whiskey industry is hundreds of years old. If it’s going to survive another 100, the marketing playbook needs to change.
Once-promising categories like crypto went silent due to an economic rout, while much of media investment flowed to performance channels that don’t inspire much in the imagination.  
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Topics covered: social media, mobile, advertising, marketing tech, content marketing, and more.

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