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Maurice Levy on the metaverse: ‘Clients aren’t using it to advertise big time’

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By Jennifer Faull, Deputy Editor

June 16, 2022 | 4 min read

What does Publicis’s Maurice Levy think of the metaverse? The jury’s still out on that one.

Viva Tech

Maurice Levy on Viva Tech and the metaverse

The metaverse is the buzzword of the week at VivaTech, Publicis Group’s annual tech show and brainchild of the ad group’s supervisory board chairman Maurice Levy.

This year top brands including L’Oréal, Louis Vuitton and Axa have flocked to the conference to give attendees a peek into how they’re building their digital presence.

Luxury jewelry brand Bulgari used the event to reveal the metaverse platform it has developed with Epic Games.

But for Levy, it’s still too early to get overly excited by its potential.

That’s not to say he doesn’t see it. He points to a new report from McKinsey, which released a preliminary forecast on the first day of the conference showing that the metaverse could be worth $5tn by 2030.

The e-commerce potential alone is worth an estimated $2.6tn, while advertising is on track to bring in $206bn within the next eight years.

“That’s big money. Real money. I don’t know if we’ll get there,” Levy tells The Drum. “But there are a lot of people who want to participate in this world and will find solutions.”

He said Publicis clients are largely interested in “exploration” within the “obvious” areas of gaming to see what the appetite among consumers is like.

“But for the time being they are not thinking of using the metaverse to advertise big time. It’s just an exploration to understand if it’s real or not and how people are reacting – are they getting addicted to it? Or at least becoming regular players?” he said.

“It’s more of a ramp-up, where they are going slowly in that world. I believe there will be some great success in the metaverse. But will it be as big as the internet was? I don’t know.”

The metaverse is just one of the headline themes from this year’s VivaTech. Levy said sustainability and mobility remain dominant and that after a two-year hiatus as a result of the pandemic, the future of work is a key area clients and vendors are looking to explore.

“If there’s one thing I would say [about VivaTech this year] it’s that life is back. When you go through the corridors and see people, you really see them. We’re not in the metaverse world. You see the energy. You see the attendance for speakers – rooms are full. People are optimistic.

“There’s a staggering difference between what we’re hearing outside in the real world with the war in Ukraine, possibility of a recession and inflation going up. This would all normally create a bleak mood, but instead you see people full of energy, with projects, and they want to see things achieved. If there’s one thing that makes my day, it’s that when I’m walking through the corridors I’m seeing the energy. It’s good, fresh and showing that VivaTech is really back.”

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