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BMW and Fender reveal the metaverse experiences they have created with Meta

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By Chris Sutcliffe | Senior reporter

June 21, 2022 | 5 min read

Meta is deepening its commitment to metaverse monetization through partnerships with BMW-owned Mini and Fender. The collaborations, announced today at Cannes, feature experiences built within Meta’s proprietary metaverse platform Horizons.

The experiences are available to users of the Meta Quest 2 headset throughout the UK, US and Canada. They aim to replicate the experience of driving a Mini and bring a “first of its kind co-play audio experience to create original music riffs” in order to show branded content to a new audience in the metaverse. The worlds have been created in partnership with Creative Shop.

Rah Mahtani, brand communications manager for Mini USA, said: “The Mini brand is all about fun, and has always stood apart from others in how it brings this fun to life in cheeky and unconventional ways. Mini is excited to collaborate with Meta’s Creative Shop as the first automotive brand to create a virtual experience in Horizon Worlds, offering the fun of customizing and racing Minis in this groundbreaking virtual reality (VR).”

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The central plaza of the Miniverse collaboration

The collaboration is indicative of Meta’s investment in the metaverse as a revenue-generating platform

To that end, the Mini experience allows up to four players to drive Minis around an “exhilarating, gravity-defying track.” Spectators can get involved to help or hinder the racers; allowing interaction of that sort has been shown to have an uplift on whether audiences end up sharing the experience on social media.

Meanwhile Evan Jones, chief marketing officer at Fender, said: “Collaboration and experimentation are essential ingredients to the musical journey, and we’re looking forward to seeing what creators can do with the unlimited potential of the metaverse and our first Fender Stratoverse experience.”

Beyond the in-headset experience, as part of Meta’s presence at Cannes Lions, there will be connecting doors to both brand worlds within the Meta Horizon Worlds Pavilion demos at Meta Beach. In partnership with Meta Spark, there will also be augmented reality (AR) effects accessed through QR codes that create unique ways to sample each world.

Nicky Bell, vice-president, global head of Creative Shop, added: “We’re excited for people to jump in and connect with fellow Mini drivers and Fender fans in these new Meta Horizon Worlds. As more brands think about how they will show up in these new immersive spaces, the Miniverse and Fender Stratoverse are great examples of how brands can partner with these pioneering VR creators to bring a community together and drive value for the brand.”

Branded experiences like these are seen as one potential way for iconic brands to market themselves within the metaverse. While the e-commerce offering is very different for automotive brands, some preexisting experiences such as Gucci Town also allow users to pay real money for virtual items.

Meta’s early experiments in branded content like these are further evidence that the company sees the metaverse as a key focus for the future – albeit one with currently limited accessibility due to a low install base of Quest headsets.

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