As technology evolve, consumers would inevitably gravitate towards new platforms and refreshing experiences. And as new ways of content consumption emerge, brands and businesses will have to stay ahead in order to remain relevant to their audiences.
Big brands have been experimenting with various experiences in the “metaverse”. Here’re:
16 brands that have taken a step into the metaverse:
Hyundai Mobility Adventure
Hyundai is constantly trying to connect with its younger audience. It’s previous collaboration with kpop band, BTS for the launch of its IONIQ electric vehicle and it’s Elantra “How do you dare” campaigns are some examples.
Hence, it’s of little surprise that they would launch a Hyundai experience in the form of a minigame on Roblox in October 2021.
Users can purchase and race Hyundai vehicles within the Hyundai Mobility Adventure, as well as take a sneak peek into what the brand might release in the future.
According to The Harris Poll, Hyundai’s effort seems to be paying off as its percentage of Gen Z consumers increased by 3.5% between Q3 to Q4 of 2021.
Yes, the skincare brand, SK-II has built a virtual city that’s said to be “inspired by Tokyo’s iconic Shibuya crossing”. Launched in May 2021, SK-II city delivers exclusive content such as the ‘VS’ Series short animated films (no longer available) and the current Andy Warhol x SK-II arcade with various mini-games.
This platform allows SK-II to educate its customers on its latest offerings as well as connect with their audiences through shared beliefs like its recent #changedestiny campaign which supports women-owned small businesses.
Is it effective?
I’m not so sure.
According to Similarweb, the SK-II city website had around 5.9k visitors as compared to 26.1k visitors on its main website, in April 2022. The brand will probably need to continue building awareness of its virtual city in order to see any significant ROI.
In Dec 2021, Nike acquired RTFKT, a digital fashion brand that was previously successful in launching and selling limited virtual custom sneakers. RTFKT merchandise has a strong augmented reality spin to them.
Shortly after Nike’s acquisition, holders of CloneX and PodX (previous RTFKT projects) were airdropped the RTFKT X NIKE Monolith NFTs which gave them access to Nike branded virtual sneakers series, Cryptokicks.
At the point of writing, the project is being unveiled slowly.
Alongside the Monolith campaign which made headlines, RTFKT has also launched the Space Drip x Nike Airforce 1 NFT collection where owners of the NFTs can claim a physical pair of sneakers.
Nike had also launch Nikeland on Roblox previously where users can play games, design their own games, unlock and purchase virtual Nike products.
Adidas: Into The Metaverse
Not to be left behind against their long-term competitors, Adidas has also taken a step into the metaverse through NFTs.
Launched in partnership with three NFT brands; BAYC, PUNKS Comic and gmoney, “Into the Metaverse” is an NFT with digital assets can be used across various blockchain-based gaming platforms.
Holders could also claim exclusive physical Adidas merchandise, with future drops being a high possibility (and holding up the price of the NFTs).
Vans is a sneaker brand revolving around the 1960s skate culture. It continues to captivate and capture a generation of skateboarders today.
In 2021, the brand launched Van World, a Roblox skatepark experience where players can have fun skating and doing tricks while trying on and buying exclusive virtual Vans gear. Their virtual skatepark brings in designs of iconic locations related to the brand.
In June 2021, millennials around the world dropped their jaws as they read the news of a virtual Gucci bag being sold for US$4,000 on Roblox. The same physical bag costs US$3,400. Do note that this virtual Gucci bag is not an NFT, its simply an in-game item.
Gucci Town is a virtual space on the Roblox platform where users can take part in minigames, create unique items as well as unlock or purchase virtual Gucci products.
And Gucci’s efforts to explore the metaverse doesn’t stop at Roblox. They have had partnerships with various platforms like Fortnite, Zepeto and even Animal Crossing and even launched the Gucci Gaming Academy to take a step into the esports scene.
7) Louis Vuitton
Louis: The Game
Platform: Mobile App featuring NFTs
To engage the GenZs and mobile gamers, LV launched “Louis The Game”, a mobile adventure game to commemorate the birthday of Louis Vuitton. Players can collect 30 NFTs designed by Beeple, within the game.
This is not their first foray into the “metaverse”. They had also worked with Riot in 2019, creating a trophy case for the Summoner’s Cup. It’s like the FIFA world cup but for the esports scene. Louis Vuitton also offered unique champion skins and collections alongside League of legends digital assets.
Balenciaga partnered with Fortnite to introduce exclusive branded skins and accessories within the Fortnite platform.
These were created alongside a limited edition real-world apparel collection. A virtual Balenciaga store was also developed within Fortnite.
Platform: NFTs and others
Gap has been experimenting with NFTs for a while on the Tezos blockchain. It kickoff with the Metallic series which gamified its audience to collect several NFTs to unlock special editions.
A notable collection was its DAP GAP series:
After selling out the physical DAP GAP collection within minutes of its drop in Mar 2022, GAP followed up on the hype by releasing an NFT collection in partnership with Dapper Dan on 5th April 2022.
At the point of writing, GAP is collaborating with former footballer Demit Omphroy for its latest NFT collection drop. Holders of its previous collections also enjoy airdrops of latest additions and added perks. GAP doesn’t seem to include physical apparels with its range of NFTs though.
In May 2022, Gap announced their move onto Roblox in May 2022 with the launch of its Club Roblox Boutique, a virtual, purchase-free experience.
10) American Eagle
Platform: NFTs and others
Amercian Eagle took its first foray into NFTs in Nov 2021 with a small collection of 120 NFTs which holders could buy for $1 and redeem a physical patch featuring the NFT’s design and an American Eagle gift card.
In March 2022, American Eagle announced a partnership with Livetopia, a top game on Roblox to create their virtual “Members Always Club”. This move was part of their plan to promote their spring collection.
They are also using Snapchat’s AR to deliver an immersive experience for their audience.
11) Tommy Hilfiger
Tom Hilfiger is another brand that had partnered with Roblox. It kicked off the partnership with a “Tommy X Roblox Creators” collection that can be used within the Roblox ecosystem back in Dec 2021.
More recently in Jun 2022, they launched a branded space “Tommy Play” where users can take part in mini games and unlock Tommy Jeans clothing and accessories.
It had also partnered with Animal Crossing previously to build “Tommy Island” which players of the game could visit and purchase Tommy Hilfiger collection.
Forever 21 Shop City
After filing for bankruptcy in 2019 and being bought over by Authentic Brand Group, Forever 21 lives on. Then in Dec 2021, they launch a virtual experience within Roblox that allows to customise and operate their own Forever 21 store. However, it was met with a rather negative reception.
13) Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren: The Winter Escape
Ralph Lauren launched their digital apparel collections within their Winter Escape Roblox app in Dec 2021 where players can ice skate and chill with friends. Users who want a little more action can take part in a treasure hunt and unlock exclusive accessories.
Although the game is still online, the winter season has come and gone. There hasn’t been any update if Ralph Lauren would be pushing out up-to-date seasonal content in the future.
14) Coca Cola
Platform: NFTs and others
Coca Cola probably targets a wide range of audience. It has been very experimental in its approach to the metaverse. It had NFT projects like the “Coca-Cola Friendship Box”, a Lootbox with virtual wearables that was auctioned on Opensea, and usable on Decentraland.
It has also worked with Fortnite to launch the “Coca‑Cola Zero Sugar Byte Pixel Point Island” -games that allow users to discover its new beverage while having fun.
Lamborghinis are a meme in the crypto and NFT space. And Lamborghini has successfully ride on this mindshare to launch its first NFT in Jan 2022.
Their NFT came with a physical component that include a part that Lamborghini had sent to the International Space Station in 2020 and a digital component. The NFTs were sold via an auction starting from a mere $100.
It was an interesting way for Lamborghini to engage its audience.
Samsung launched its virtual flagship store, 837X within Decentraland, a decentralised 3D virtual world platform.
They teased that there would be new events and quests each month. Users can enjoy the experience, learn about Samsung’s innovations and earn exclusive badges and wearables.
Back home, we have brands experimenting with metaverse related experience too. At the point of writing, Capitaland is promoting their CapitaVerse, as sponsored by DBS:
Taking place between 19 – 20 Jun 2022 on Decentraland, Capitaland offers free Proof of Attendance Protocol NFTs (think of it as event badges), NFTs, Capitaland Vouchers and a whole slew of prizes as part of it Virtual Hunt event.
Looking at the list above, you may easily assume that the metaverse is just about games or digital tickets that lets you swap for physical goods. Although that’s the current state of how these big brands are tackling the metaverse, I’m pretty sure novel experiences will emerge along the way.
It may be interesting to keep an eye out.
That said, although it’d be good to stay in the know, I do not think small businesses should focus their marketing in the metaverse.