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Future of Media: I'm a Celeb goes meta, NYT on carbon conundrum, decade's best OOH


By John McCarthy | Media editor

November 25, 2021 | 7 min read

Welcome to The Drum’s weekly Future of Media briefing from media editor John McCarthy.


I’m in the metaverse! Get me out of here

ITV created an I’m A Celebrity! gaming experience with John Lewis in Fortnite. There’s a lot to dissect there, and so I did. ITV owns a metaverse team called Metavision. This particular gaming experience markets the show, connects ITV and John Lewis to a younger audience, and of course, has a commercial benefit.

In an interview with Metavision’s cofounders, I was impressed with how they were connecting these gaming incursions to the strategy of the broadcaster and the brand partner.

We’re all suffering from a bit of metaverse fatigue. The snake oilmen are selling custom maps and gaming experiences as the metaverse... bit it isn't. But this Fortnite activation is an honest-to-God attempt to imagine metaverse within current tech limitations. It's the closest we’ve got and it is rather impressive. I’ve no doubts that ITV has got a real head start in building its IP in new interactive mediums.

The broadcaster can drive traffic and engagement around the experience through its addressable and social channels. And well, let’s be honest, I know a lot of you can’t wait to see what the team is cooking up for Love Island. To be frank, I don't want to know what a lot of you would get up to in a VR Love Island experience.

Read it here.

NYT president on carbon conundrum

The New York Times is investing a huge amount into its climate desk contributing some 4,000 articles in 2020. But it will still accept ad revenue from so-called ‘dirty’ advertisers. Its international president Stephen Dunbar-Johnson told us: “We are not an activist organization.”

He says the organization will check the veracity of any climate ads it runs. Furthermore: “We have many people working on climate, so if you see an Exxon Mobile ad running in The New York Times, it’s very likely we are going to have journalists holding Exxon Mobile to account in their investigations.”

It’s an idealistic model - are dirty advertisers actually funding the very journalism holding them to account? If they are, let’s hope they don’t notice.

Read it here.

Publishers need to evolve

Every now and then I put a problem to Cavai’s founder and chief executive officer Steffen Svartberg. This week he lamented how much of the web’s best content is going behind paywalls, a failure, some say, of advertising.

The rise of ecommerce and performance marketing threatens to leave many publishers scratching their heads. Svartberg says: “In a hard-headed commercial world, brands have moved far beyond the time when you advertised just because you had no other means of reaching people. Marketers want outcomes, and if pretty ads aren’t working, they have other ways of achieving them.”

Food for thought. There’s a nice middle ground between some run-of-the-mill branded content, a cookie-cutter display ad and an I’m a Celebrity metaverse experience. Read it here.

Other stuff

Read the last Future of Media briefing.

Subscribe to our other briefings. Please share with curious friends or ignorant colleagues... and don’t hesitate to contact me on Twitter, Linkedin and email.

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