In Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse, what will the ads look like?

A new video from Inspired by Iceland pushes the experience of life through the “metaverse”, as described by Mark Zuckerberg during the rebranding from Facebook to Meta on Thursday, October 28, 2021.

Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Imagine at some point in the near future you make your daily journey through the metaverse when you meet Colin Kaepernick. It’s not flesh and blood Colin Kaepernick, but a digital avatar of the former NFL star. When you interact with Kaepernick, Nike, Kaepernick’s sponsor, is part of the experience. Whether you are a fan of Nike or not, its presence at least affirms the identity and history of the brand.

Advertising has always met the world where technology has taken its eyes and ears. While the first wave of advertising was print and billboards, followed by radio, and television ushered in a new iteration in the 1950s built around the 30-second spot, an era lasted until the introduction of the World Wide Web in the 1990s.

But in the mid-2010s, the average time spent watching television has dropped from 4.2 hours to 3.17 hours now, and this time is is expected to continue to decline throughout the decade. While it’s not clear that less time spent on TV will mean a migration to the Metaverse, a conceptual virtual world where people will interact with each other using headsets or smart glasses and virtual reality. , many advertisers are betting on it.

The term “metaverse” dates back to Neal Stephenson’s 1992 science fiction novel “Snow Crash,” in which humans, as avatars, interacted in a three-dimensional virtual space – to escape a dystopian reality. It caught fire this year after Facebook rebranded itself as Meta Platforms, noting that its goal is “Bringing the metaverse to life and helping people connect, find communities and grow businesses”.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg described the Metaverse as a “Internet embodied” which, unlike the Internet today, gives a “sense of presence”.

Video game companies like developer Fortnite Epic Games and Roblox planted a flag at the start of the metaverse trend. Nike – which owns several patents related to selling products in the Metaverse – recently created Nikeland in conjunction with Roblox, and apparently every company is looking to do something about it.

“Our efforts to date are just a prologue to a time when we can connect the physical and digital worlds even more closely, enabling borderless storytelling in our own Disney metaverse,” said Bob Chapek, CEO of Disney, at the third quarter of the business. call for earnings.

“The metaverse is the next frontier, just like social media when we first started,” billionaire businessman Orlando Bravo, co-founder and managing partner of private equity firm Thomas Bravo, recently told CNBC. “It’s investable and it’s going to be very big.”

Now, the question of how to monetize the attention of Metaverse users in this new form of media is a priority. The advertisement may have previously interrupted a user’s multimedia experience. A newspaper ad, for example, ran on the same pages where readers read news articles. Later inventions like radio followed the same format: programming would be interrupted by audio commercials. Later, television will follow the same format.

Advertisers have sketched a different approach to metaverse advertising.

The new billboard

In the first phase, these executives said, brands would just erect digital billboards in the metaverse. The model for such advertising can be found in games like Tiki-Taka Soccer and FIFA Mobile, in which brand billboards increase awareness and, if the visitor is interested, lead to more product information. .

“It’s going to be very similar to what we have today in the real world,” said Jason Velliquette, executive vice president of digital for R3 Marketing Consulting. He believes there will be systems in the Metaverse that will allow you to produce and release assets. “So in the same way that we have notice boards on the side of the road or [out of] home signage, brands will still be able to purchase these types of placements in a Metaverse environment or a 3D environment, ”he said.

This means that if, say, a large financial services company like a Citibank wanted to set up a booth to teach financial education in the metaverse, it can. But in a virtual world, the brand might have a better chance of partnering with an influencer.

“Within Twitch you have influencers who have these huge channels and are following,” Velliquette said. “You can still follow these kinds of people or attend their seminars or attend their shows or their speaking engagements or things of that nature. And brands will be able to partner and collaborate with these different influencers to really make a splash in the world. ‘metaverse space,’ he said.

Product placement

The pandemic has forced more brands to experiment with the latest camera technology and virtual fit applications for clothing and cosmetics, and “virtual fashion” is an obvious target for early development and experimentation in the world. the metaverse.

“When people walk around as avatars, it’s totally imaginable that your virtual version will dress up and use brands like Nike, Adidas, Balanchine, Balenciaga or Gucci or Levi’s, whatever,” Max Pinas said. , Creative Director of Dept, a global digital agency. “And so you will have virtual fashion,” he said.

Last May, Gucci presented a handbag in Roblox that actually costs more than the item in real life.

Nike’s virtual world called Nikeland within the Roblox platform is inspired by the company’s headquarters. Although it will provide users with various mini-games like dodge ball and tag, Nike plans to have a digital showroom and include athlete and product integration.

In the past, when marketers place products in movies or TV shows, they would use a product placement agency. In games and the metaverse, it works a little differently. Usually gambling makes you work for goods. In World of Warcraft, for example, you mine for gold and when you get enough gold you can buy something.

The introduction of NFTs – non-fungible tokens – changes this equation. Suddenly, a person (represented as a gaming avatar) can buy an NFT and virtually walk around different worlds with it.

Such cross pollination inevitably leads to problems. For example, last year in Fortnite it was possible to see the Marvel and DC Comics properties in the same location. “So you could see, say, someone dressed up as Batman and talk to the Avengers,” Pinas said.

New universe for consumers

As marketers set these brand boundaries, technology continues to evolve. This is why, in a short time, a user will be able to interact with an incarnation of a brand, like Kaepernick for Nike.

Tiffany Rolfe, global creative director for advertising agency R / GA, said that while the metaverse does not yet exist, it will provide a new world of clients and environments to integrate with entertainment companies like Disney. , by exploiting existing intellectual property. And some of these new experiences will be similar to the 30-second TV spot. “It’s a story that could unfold over time on different platforms, different realities, things could happen in the real world, and then it connects you to something that happens in the virtual world,” he said. declared Rolfe.

“This last year of the pandemic, and the way we engage with digital experiences has really opened our eyes to what’s possible. Experiences are going to be a big space where brands will create. [events] to bring people in and scale it up, ”she added.

Some advertising managers say that successful efforts will have to take into account that the metaverse, by its original definition, is an area within which the individual escapes from the real world. This means that brands shouldn’t be creating what looks like advertising as we know it, and what will appear real in the virtual world will be different.

The time to call it is over and brands need to redefine their approaches to audience engagement, ”said Lewis Smithingham, Director of Creative Solutions at Media.Monks. “In the metaverse, brands need to strike a balance between being present and being authentic. by bringing utility and meaning to people through creativity and technological innovation. In short, brands need to create experiences that people actually want. “


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