By Nishant Chandra
Metaverse is becoming the new marketing playground for brands. Many of the biggest companies and personalities in the world have already started leveraging the metaverse, if not already integrated.
In April 2020, American artist Travis Scott hosted a live Fortnite concert in the Metaverse that attracted 27.7 million unique attendees – far more than a typical physical concert venue can accommodate – and was viewed. 45.8 million views, which means millions of players logged in to attend, multiple times, over the five days of the event.
Gucci, the high-end fashion brand, created The Gucci Garden Experience to sell virtual goods and in 2021 sold a virtual-only digital twin of a Gucci handbag at a higher price than its global counterpart real. The company had already gone digital in June 2021, auctioning a new non-fungible token (NFT) inspired by its fall-winter collection. British sports club Manchester City is building its own Metaverse at a cost of $100 million which Sony has been given the contract for and is expected to be completed by 2024. A similar experiment has already been launched by the American team of the Major League Baseball, Atlanta Braves. Similarly, Emirates Airlines announced in 2022 that it would enter the Metaverse and provide customer service through this avenue.
Louis Vuitton launched Louis the Game, which integrates around thirty NFTs into a mobile game created to celebrate the company’s bicentenary. Nike has acquired RTFKT Studios, a design startup specializing in virtual footwear and collectibles. Burberry teamed up with the Blankos Block Party game to showcase its first NFTs in August 2021. And in January 2022, Adidas and Prada brought the Adidas for Prada Re-Nylon collection to the Metaverse as part of their third collaboration.
Companies from many other industries have also entered the NFT space. To commemorate the McRib’s return for a limited time to its restaurant menu, McDonald’s launched its first-ever NFT promotion with ten individual McRib NFTs made available to those who retweeted the brand’s invite. More than 21,000 people responded within hours and nearly 93,000 had done so by the start of 2022. The National Football League in the United States offered spectators of this year’s Super Bowl a free section-specific NFT , row and seat. Seven tokens were also available for purchase to commemorate the previous seven league games in the host city of Los Angeles in 2022.
In India, we collaborated with Yug Metaverse to organize the very first Holi set in Metaverse. Participants from all over the world joined to celebrate the festival of colors. Many prominent movie stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Kamal Haasan, Sonu Nigam and Salman Khan have launched their NFTs among others. The opportunities for marketing through the Metaverse platform are immense.
The emerging Metaverse market offers a wide range of business opportunities for companies. Technology, media and telecommunications companies will benefit directly by delivering technology enablers, such as 5G, next-generation Wi-Fi or broadband networks, and new operating systems, app stores and platforms to foster content creation. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) tools are being actively explored and used in industries ranging from healthcare to the production of industrial goods.
For consumers, there are many reasons to be excited and see the utility in entering the Metaverse platform. The platform offers consumer-facing businesses the ability to offer consumers new ways to shop, such as virtual storefronts, with virtual try-ons. It offers physical-virtual experiences or exclusive access to a brand’s events or concerts. Consumers can participate in the co-creation of assets and experiences, exchange goods or earn money, and use new methods of interacting with other communities.
Despite all the innovation and progress, there are a few deterrents in the current iteration of the Metaverse. For example, if a beautiful historic palace or any 3D model is created that can be rendered flawlessly through platforms such as Unreal Engine or Unity – by the time it is transported into the current global web3 metaverse, there is platforms such as Sandbox, which allow others to visually decimate the work, to the point that it can be perceived as excruciating. As new Metaverse platforms evolve, this issue should be resolved shortly. Another issue is that most current Metaverse platforms are Desktop First and not Mobile first, which limits reach, especially in developing countries where desktop penetration is lower than mobile phone penetration. Another key issue is that most of these experiences in the metaverse can only be viewed and interacted with to their full potential right now through the use of crypto/digital currencies only. It is all the more so since the cryptocurrency is specific to these Metaverse platforms.
While there are limitations with the Metaverse as with any new technology, there is also a sea of opportunity for brands to creatively engage with their target audience. The day is not far off when brands will dive into the world of immense possibilities of the metaverse.
The author is co-founder of Blocktickets
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