The metaverse is a new internet frontier and popular brands are taking advantage of the evolving technology. Once companies finally understand what the metaverse really is, how can they stand out?
In this article, we will discuss how some top brands are approaching metaverse brand activations and highlight the industries making the largest strides. We’ll also give you a short list of metaverse initiatives across industries that may help inspire your strategy.
Metaverse Brand Activations
There are many different ways brands can join the metaverse, but most metaverse brand activations will involve one or more of the following technologies:
- QR codes
- Virtual, immersive environments via metaverse platforms such as Roblox or Decentraland
- Augmented and/or virtual reality experiences
- NFTs (Non-fungible tokens) and other cryptocurrencies
This is not an all-encompassing list, but they are the most common. Top brands are using these technologies to carry out “phygital marketing” (combining digital and physical tactics to curate a unique experience for consumers).
Frito-Lay’s FIFA World Cup campaign, for example, leveraged the metaverse for a phygital experience. Consumers scanned a QR code on a snack wrapper to join the Pass the Ball Challenge for a chance to win various prizes, including an NFT (non-fungible token). After scanning the code, users were prompted to take a selfie, which was placed on a digital soccer ball.
Other companies are considering working in the metaverse, using VR tech for employee engagement and virtual meetings for remote workers.
The Industries Making Strides In The Metaverse
As with every new technological innovation, some early adopters of the metaverse have benefited greatly from taking the gamble. Here is a list of a few industries that are already making their mark.
Virtual Real Estate
In the metaverse, real estate aficionados are trading land and properties in cryptocurrencies. People are buying and selling real estate on metaverse platforms including The Sandbox and Decentraland. Some plots of land have been sold for millions of dollars.
The metaverse real estate investor and advisory firm EveryRealm paid $4.3 million for virtual land in The Sandbox to develop Fanasty Islands, a collection of 100 unique private island villas.
With a forward-thinking, creative culture, it is no surprise the fashion world was one of the first industries that embraced the metaverse. Luxury fashion brands such as Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana launched exclusive digital clothing and NFTs to make themselves trailblazers of the metaverse.
Some mass-market brands like Pacsun have made heavy investments in connecting with audiences in the metaverse. Pacsun kicked off their holiday marketing season with the PacVerse campaign. It follows the success of the brand’s presence within PACWORLD on Roblox and Pacsun the Game, launched in 2022. The brand extended experiences in PACWORLD with a holiday twist that included features like a gift shop. Real-life experiences included in-store initiatives and a rooftop screening in Los Angeles.
Then there are decentralized autonomous organizations such as the Metaverse Fashion Council (MFC) which are actively cultivating professional networks and curating events for the metaverse. MFC founded Metaverse Fashion Week and hosted the first event in March 2022.
Big-box retailers like Macy’s have also made metaverse brand activations. The company created a virtual version of its annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, which featured five NFT project galleries and allowed attendees to vote on a parade balloon NFT that will be turned into a physical one at next year’s event.
Back in June 2022, Target hosted a Pride month activation to celebrate and amplify LBGTQIA+ voices. In October, the retailer brought the viral #GothTarget to the metaverse to celebrate the spooky season on Meta Horizon Worlds.
Miller Lite became the very first brand to create a bar in the metaverse, but there are other brands in the alcohol industry that are helping people enjoy a cold one in the emerging digital space.
Corona tapped in on nostalgia in its 2022 holiday marketing campaign by centering the iconic 1990 Christmas ad, “O’Tannenpalm”.
The O’Tannenpalm Tree Lot virtual experience offered users a chance to explore Corona’s holiday wonderland using augmented reality. For example, users were able to place virtual holiday palm trees in their own spaces and experiment with several other interactive features.
Music & Entertainment
Similar to the fashion industry, music and entertainment was one of the first industries to adopt metaverse marketing. Popular artists such as Ariana Grande and Megan thee Stallion have hosted concerts in the metaverse.
IHeartMedia kicked off the launch of its metaverse platform IHeartLand with a performance by Grammy-nominated singer Charlie Puth, which was followed by an album release party. Beyond enjoying the concert, users could snap selfies on the red carpet and play mini-games in the virtual world.
Recent Metaverse Branding Examples Across Industries
Food: McCain Foods
McCain Foods partnered up with Roblox and Bored & Hungry to launch Regen Fries as a part of the #SaveOurSocial initiative with the goal of educating and engaging younger consumers about regenerative agriculture and issues the farming community is facing.
With Roblox, the company created Farms of the Future, which allows players in the game to grow potatoes using regenerative farming methods. Players apply regenerative methods like planting cover crops or rotational grazing and are rewarded for their efforts.
Bored & Hungry, the first-ever NFT-backed restaurant group, provided the real-life portion of the activation. Back in October and November of 2022, the restaurant served Regen Fries at its flagship location in Long Beach, California, and several pop-up shops in London and Toronto.
The National Football League and long-term partner Visa created the NFL Zone, which is a destination within Fornite Creative, a sandbox game. The interactive fan experience features two mini-games based on virtual tailgating and other popular Fortnite activities. As an official sponsor of the NFL, Visa has a virtual stadium in the game.
The NFL plans to launch a content series with several creators across gaming and sports. The league also has plans to leverage the social media following of players in the NFL to increase awareness.
The NFL Zone is just one of many metaverse activities the league has adopted. The aim of this activation is to create a social hub to engage with Gen-Z and nurture a new generation of football fans—a demographic that the league has often struggled to attract.
Mastercard held its multi-channel campaign with Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever with the aim of spotlighting black-owned small business owners. The company launched an immersive experience via Meta Horizon Worlds to connect small businesses with consumers through various activities designed to bring their brand stories to life.
This particular activation builds on Mastercard’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, which includes the Strivers Initiative, a platform that’s dedicated to supporting black women-owned businesses.
Footwear: Snap / New Balance
Snap and New Balance have released a lens that uses speech recognition and AR to give gift recommendations from footwear to accessories. The Holiday Gifting Concierge Lens has several different modes for users to explore. In the worldview mode, users can experience an AR unboxing that displays recommendations.
Although you cannot click a link while using the lens, if you go to the New Balance Snapchat profile and go to “Shop,” you can view items for sale and receive a link to their website to purchase.