With the metaverse forecasted as the future of social media, brands are quick to strategize new marketing campaigns. The metaverse is a complex experience of virtual and augmented realities where users can connect, play, and exchange transactions. For brands, marketing in the metaverse is an opportunity to reach a bigger audience, set their digital footprints, and welcome the potential of revenue growth.
20 Brands Leaping into the Metaverse:
20 Brands Breaking Through the Metaverse Marketplace
In November 2021, athletic apparel brand NIKE launched NIKELAND, an interactive world where visitors get to play mini-games and indulge in a lifestyle centered on sport and play. NIKELAND is hosted on Roblox, a metaverse platform known for hosting immersive experiences for its users. Expanding its market to the digital space allows the brand to get more people engaged with their products and services.
NIKELAND is based off the brand’s headquarters. The digital community is brimming with games that can also get you moving in real-time. You can customize your avatar and dress them up in NIKE gear showcased in the game’s outfit collection, then share your outfit for fellow players to see in the showroom.
RTFKT is now a part of the NIKE, Inc. family. 🌐👁🗨 pic.twitter.com/5egNk9d8wA
— RTFKT Studios (@RTFKTstudios) December 13, 2021
In December 2021, athletic apparel brand NIKE acquired RTFKT, a studio specializing in NFT sneakers and avatar accessories. With this acquisition, NIKE is gearing up for creative endeavors and spreading its legacy across the metaverse.
Fast-food chain Wendy’s has always kept up with the latest trends among the younger, more impressionable audience. Its red-head mascot has had a dedicated Mii from Nintendo Wii, an Animal Crossing avatar, and as of recent, a freezer-beating character in Fortnite. Fortnite is a cross-platform game that is a global sensation for hosting concerts and featuring artists like Ariana Grande.
With the launching of a new Food Fight game mode in Fortnite, Wendy’s took this opportunity to develop a character who’s on a mission to destroy frozen beef—promoting the fast-food chain’s commitment to using “fresh, never frozen beef” in their menu. Wendy’s streamed their gameplay on Twitch, gaining over 250,000 live views. The ingenious campaign led to Wendy’s winning multiple influencer awards and increased brand awareness across the metaverse.
Tech giant Samsung isn’t one to stay out of the metaverse loop. In January 2022, Samsung launched its first metaverse store in Decentraland. Samsung 837x is modeled after the physical store at 837 Washington Street, New York City. Since its opening, Samsung’s digital store has received over 120,000 customers.
Initially, Samsung 837x was a store where users could stop by and browse collections or take on quests. Today, Samsung revamped 837x for a more immersive experience—users can build their own adventure, interact with other in-game characters, and accomplish missions.
Hyundai pioneers the digital automotive experience on Roblox with its participation in the metaverse. In campaigning for the company’s latest initiatives for sustainability, Hyundai targeted the tech-savvy population and partnered with Roblox for Hyundai Mobility Adventure. The video game highlights an immersive experience between characters and Hyundai’s newest technology.
Hyundai Mobility Adventure was officially launched on September 1, 2021. This metaverse community introduces you to the thrills of driving and the brand’s advocacy for sustainable transportation.
Setting up shop in the metaverse can be tricky, especially for brands that established their presence for consumable goods. Beverage company Coca-Cola is breaking through the metaverse with its legacy. Committed to building friendships with the power of Coke, Coca-Cola launched an NFT collection with OpenSea.
The Coca-Cola Friendship Loot Box dropped in time for celebration of International Friendship Day in 2021. The branded NFT assets can be used across the universe for avatars to show off. Meanwhile, the winning bidder for the collection would also win a real-life Coca-Cola refrigerator, stocked with Coca-Cola. The collection was won at the bidding amount of over US$575,000.
When the world went into lockdown, tourism was among the industries to experience massive losses. Hotels and resorts shut down, but Sentosa persisted to market to the people stuck at home. In May 2020, the first real-world island debuted in the phenomenal multiplayer game Animal Crossing. A virtual Sentosa Island was recreated in the game, and players were welcomed to visit and enjoy the resort’s amenities.
The virtual Sentosa Island allowed players to go on a “getaway” or reimagine their stay at the real-life Sentosa resort. From registering to checking out on time, virtual Sentosa offered players a glimpse at spending a holiday in the resort. You can take home freebies, purchase official Sentosa merchandise, and join parties and yoga classes.
Virtual Sentosa Island was in operations from May to June 2020. 36 slots were open every day, allowing up to 4 players to explore the island for 30 minutes.
Direct-to-consumer brands aren’t the only ones expanding their reach through the metaverse. AMC’s The Walking Dead persists to deliver content past the television series with a zombie apocalypse in The Sandbox. The Sandbox joined forces with Skybound Entertainment to add a game inspired by the hit series. In July 2021, the Walking Dead game launches on the metaverse. Fans can play out and join in the plot, acquainting with original characters along the way.
The game experience revolves in survival, where players scavenge for food and hide from zombies. Players can live their own journey in the universe, or follow the original storyline.
Introducing Louis The Game. Join Vivienne in collecting 200 birthday candles as she retraces #LouisVuitton’s story over two centuries and try to find one of the 30 precious NFTs. Discover the new game in honor of #LOUIS200 at https://t.co/5vpMF3AQDy pic.twitter.com/tpAM5rZhjR
— Louis Vuitton (@LouisVuitton) August 10, 2021
The fashion industry is the next best thing to reinvent the metaverse marketplace. Users are on the lookout for unique NFT wearables to bring out their personality through in-game avatars, and fashion brands are here to deliver. Luxury brand Louis Vuitton joins in the metaverse hype, releasing a 30-piece NFT collection in its game to celebrate 200 years of dedication for bespoke fashion.
Louis the Game takes you on a journey as Vivienne, the brand’s mascot. Through it, you can explore various city streets to collect 200 candles and revisit Louis Vuitton’s history.
With apparel brands filtering in, shopping across the metaverse becomes second nature. Adidas expanded its market and set up auctions for original and collaboration pieces on OpenSea, aspiring to indulge users in owning one-of-a-kind assets and encourage them to pursue creativity and individuality through fashion. It also teamed up with fashion brand Prada to educate users on creator-owned art.
Meanwhile, established NFT collections like the Bored Ape Yacht Club collaborated with Adidas to bring Adidas Originals to the forefront of the NFT community. To date, all 30,000 NFTs have been minted.
Treasure hunts are among the popular game settings in the metaverse, and Gucci uses this strategy to its advantage. The luxury fashion brand has long been dabbling in the metaverse marketplace with various NFT collaborations. Gucci employs hierarchical access for limited NFT collections, such as that of the Superplastic collaboration.
Gucci’s The Vault occupies virtual space at The Sandbox. The 10KTF Gucci Grail is the brand’s upcoming project, applying the treasure hunt model to entice players to collect assets along the way. The exclusive prizes at the end of the treasure hunt will feature NFT pieces crafted especially by the creative director Alessandro Michele and an elusive Wagmi-san.
Fortnite remains to be a favorite venue for brands launching into the metaverse. In a collaboration, luxury brand Balenciaga makes waves in the gaming community as it releases its first NFT wearables in September 2021.
The collection features a range of outfits, bags, and accessories that players can buy to equip their characters. Along with building a personal style, Balenciaga and Fortnite also pushed for a look book campaign. Players were to model their Balenciaga pieces and earn a chance to be featured on one of the many billboards lining up the streets and buildings. The featured NFT assets can also be purchased from physical stores.
Burberry is another high fashion staple taking marketing to video game platforms. Its first ever NFT collection consists of wearables and a character embellished in Burberry’s trademark logos. The British brand joins forces with Mythical Games’ Blankos Block Party, a cross-platform game featuring vinyl characters.
With Burberry penetrating the metaverse through games, it promotes the fashion industry’s adaptability across experiences and communities. Burberry was also among the brand attendees for the Metaverse Fashion Week held in March 2022.
13. Dolce & Gabbana
In 2021, metaverse platform Decentraland generated over US$25 million worth of sales. Late last March, Decentraland hosted the first-ever Metaverse Fashion Week, of which Dolce & Gabbana took part in. The fashion brand revealed 20 NFT wearables. From March 23 to March 27, 2022, the pieces were up for public viewing in the Dolce & Gabbana virtual popup store.
Dolce & Gabbana engages the metaverse marketplace with the official launching of DGFamily, an NFT community bestowing members with exclusive benefits to the brand’s collection drops and events.
Italian luxury car maker Ferrari doesn’t hold back in joining forces with Fortnite for a successful product preview. In July 2021, Ferrari released the 296 GTB, and the Fortnite community got to try it out first. This particular model has yet to make a physical debut, but Fortnite players can take it out for a drive on a battle royale.
The collaboration showcases a detailed and realistic model for the 296 GTB, raising hype and anticipation for its real-life rollout. Following its success in the world of gaming, Ferrari is gearing up to further explore the metaverse and build a community with a passion for cars.
15. Tommy Hilfiger
More than 60 brands showcased their NFT collections in the first Metaverse Fashion Week. Tommy Hilfiger featured its Spring 2022 collection over the course of the Fashion Week. The brand’s popup store allowed visitors to take a closer look at the featured items.
Tommy Hilfiger sells NFTs for profile picture uses and physical equivalents. You can place a purchase for an NFT and redeem its physical counterpart, which gets delivered directly to you.
Vans brings together skateboarding, authentic fashion, and interaction with Vans World. This immersive 3D experience allows users to venture into the world of skateboarding.
Street fashion pioneer Vans partners with Roblox in its venture across the metaverse. In September 2021, Vans World went online. If you’re too scared to try out skateboarding in real life, you can check out Vans World for a virtual experience. Learn cool tricks, make friends and customize your fit with Vans’ authentic shoe collections.
17. Ralph Lauren
If there’s a platform that knows how to effectively reflect a user’s personality through their avatar, it’s Zepeto. Apparel brand Ralph Lauren collaborated with the avatar-centric social network Zepeto to introduce NFT wearables.
Ralph Lauren invested in delivering an interactive shopping experience. The community is set around New York City, with various events taking place. Players can stroll and explore the virtual recreations of known real-life landmarks. A quest is also available to accomplish.
After completing the quest, players can get the chance to watch K-Pop band Tomorrow x Together perform. The idols interact with the audience through their customized avatars. In teaming up with the biggest metaverse platform in the Asia-Pacific region, Ralph Lauren managed to release its NFT collection at affordable prices.
18. Forever 21
Retail fashion giant Forever 21 also participated in the Metaverse Fashion Week. However, the brand has already long been engaged in the metaverse marketplace. Partnering with metaverse creation expert Virtual Brand Group, Forever 21 launched a virtual store for players to build and customize to become the “top shop”.
The Forever 21 Shop City experience is hosted on Roblox. Unlike most fashion brands setting up shop for visitors to enter and browse, Forever 21 provides visitors with a digital store that is waiting to be refurbished and filled with items for sale. Players compete to become the best retail shop in town. The game consists of four districts where users can find items scattered around, make friends, and develop their stores.
Arcade game pioneer Atari announced a comeback, showing interest in the growing metaverse community. It dropped an NFT collection featuring vintage pieces from its classic games.
On top of releasing NFT collections, Atari is polishing its plans to host a cryptocurrency casino. The casino shall feature classic games like poker and roulette, and Atari’s iconic releases like Pong. Plans for a real-life hotel and casino equivalent of the Atari Casino in Vegas are also proposed to begin by 2022.
Christie’s is an auction house with an eye for demand and uniqueness. It auctioned the first collection of digital artworks to become NFTs. Digital artist Mike Winkelmann, or more popularly known as Beeple, sold a collection containing 5,000 pieces of digital art for over US$69 million.
NFT trading is transforming how auction houses and collectors trade and bid for items. Since hosting its first NFT auction, Christie’s engagement grew, with 72% of its NFT buyers and bidders hearing about the auction house for the first time. Christie’s embraces the NFT community, sharing content and striking up conversation about NFTs across networking platforms.
The Future of Marketing in the Metaverse
The metaverse is ripe with marketing and advertising possibilities. While it is still in its early stages and developers are still being enhanced for fully-integrated augmented and virtual reality experiences, the community is now more open to experimenting on various projects, which brands can leverage for a successful breakthrough in the digital space.
Blurring the lines between the physical and digital worlds enables brands from various industries to cater to specific audiences and deliver personalized consumer interactions. Marketing to the younger audience also becomes more natural, as brands launch video games and virtual shopping stores.
However, businesses may have to invest money and time in advanced technology to pursue metaverse marketing. Should the metaverse further progress, businesses would not only have their hands full with implementing new marketing strategies but would also need to engage with competitors for acquiring the latest technology.
The metaverse may be young and volatile, but businesses see this as a chance to pioneer in a new era of marketing. The future is bright for a marketing model based on the intersections of gaming, lifestyle, culture, and the arts in the digital world.