5 brands already boldly embracing the metaverse

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By Dani Gibson | Senior Writer

January 17, 2022 | 8 min read

As part of The Drum’s Metaverse Deep Dive, we round up some of the best examples of brands causing a stir within the virtual online world by creating out of this world experiences.

1. Gucci and Roblox

In May 2021, gaming platform Roblox hosted the Gucci Garden, a two-week art installation aimed at building brand awareness among young customers.

A virtual recreation of a real-world installation in Florence, Gucci sought to tell its story ahead of its centenary.

Like it’s real-life counterpart, the Gucci Garden in Roblox offered various themed rooms paying homage to the brand’s campaigns while transcending the laws of physics.

When first entering the area, visitors could view, try on and purchase digital Gucci products to dress their blank, genderless avatars in before then walking through the themed rooms.

As they made their way through the virtual world, their avatars would absorb elements of each area.

Gucci

The ephemeral experience was designed to attract attention in a limited amount of time and build upon Gucci’s launch of virtual items on Roblox in 2020.

To ensure that both platform and brand received value from any sale of the virtual clothing, the items were sold via a revenue share model.

2. Coca-Cola and Tafi

In July 2021, Coca-Cola teamed up with 3D creators at Tafi to host an auction for special-edition virtual ‘loot boxes’ of NFTs, which took in over $1m.

The sets included digital apparel that can be worn in the open-source gaming platform Decentraland, hosted on the Ethereum blockchain, and the winning bidder would also receive a real-life Coca-Cola branded refrigerator.

During the event, participants bid on the Coca-Cola Friendship Box, a virtual take on Coke’s classic vending machine. When they opened their prize, participants found various NFT goodies, like a futuristic Coca-Cola Bubble Jacket Wearable and The Sound Visualizer, which engages users with the instantly recognizable audio cues of a bottle opening and a beverage being poured over ice.

Coca-Cola and Tafi created a strong sense of community within the crypto community and brought in new, young audiences to its social media channels.

3. Louis Vuitton

Last year, Louis Vuitton celebrated its second centenary. To pay homage to its founder, an adventure-based game – Louis the Game – was released.

The mobile game follows the character of Vivienne through six worlds, collecting 200 candles to commemorate the birthday of Louis Vuitton.

The brand created its own story and world to explore, similar to a role-playing game (RPG) you’d find on the PlayStation. On starting the game, you enter a world where you can run around and collect items while customizing your character in Louis Vuitton fashion wear.

To add to all of that, 30 NFTs created by artist Beeple were placed around the game for players to find.

Like many other brands, Louis Vuitton is tapping into ways it can reach younger audiences without turning them off by having to purchase anything.

However, these NFTs, unlike other blockchain games, cannot be traded on any marketplaces, making them purely digital collectables.

4. Balenciaga and Fortnite

Like many high-end fashion brands, Balenciaga has also ventured into the metaverse and near the end of 2021 was the first to take on Fortnite. Players of the open-world video game could purchase digital outfits inspired by real-life Balenciaga pieces from its virtual boutique.

While most of the merchandise had to be purchased, some items could be unlocked, like Balenciaga’s Triple S Sneakers.

The hub was live for one week only and players could hang out with each other, try on outfits in changing booths and add the brand’s merch to their inventories.

And to tie this into the real world, a series of clothing would also be available in select Balenciaga stores and website. To top it all off, fans who would buy real-life apparel could also unlock the Balenciaga outfits in Fortnite.

Balenciaga went a step further with a DOOH activation, creating a 3D billboard experience in London, New York, Tokyo and Seoul.

5. Selfridges and Pokemon

2021 saw Pokémon mark its 25th anniversary and so Selfridges, along with designer Charli Cohen and Yahoo RYOT Lab, created Electric/City, a virtual city where you could shop for exclusive virtual and physical products.

Inspired by the fashion capitals of the world, visitors would be immersed in the 3D environment where they would create custom avatars to roam the digital space. These characters could be dressed in the digital garments and viewed through the AR body-tracking Snapchat lens or shared on social media and other virtual environments.

Selfridges also stepped into the real world and held an in-store launch promo where customers had the opportunity to register for a digital wallet to enter physical easter egg hunts and win physical prizes or Charli Cohen digital collectables.

For more on the exciting new opportunities for marketers in this rapidly evolving space, check out The Drum’s Metaverse hub.

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