The metaverse has seen a meteoric rise from a niche concept to an achievable reality. The idea of metaverse took off from the premise of a decentralized internet and now promises to be a virtual world that mimics our physical realm. Massive corporations like Meta, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Tencent are all backing the metaverse.
Some companies have already jumped into the vast, immersive, highly-interactive world to expand their business. This article will look at five brands that entered the metaverse and created a splash.
The luxury fashion house, Balenciaga, entered the metaverse in late 2021 through a partnership with the video game makers Epic Games. The Fortnite x Balenciaga collab contained in-game limited-edition skins and outfits for avatars in the Fortnite game, which boasts a staggering 350 million users worldwide. The collab also featured an accompanying real-world Fornite x Balenciaga clothing line.
The in-game Balenciaga merchandise was a mix of skins and outfits, including a designer pickaxe, a bling backpack, and Balenciaga Triple S Sneakers. Most items were available to buy via in-game currency. A virtual store that replicated real-world Balenciaga retail spaces was also created, where users could try on clothes and buy cosmetic upgrades. The store was live for one week only. Furthermore, Balenciaga and Fortnite took their metaverse partnership one step further with real-life, 3D billboards in New York City, London, Tokyo, and Seoul.
In October 2021, Hyundai Motor Company announced the launch of Mobility Adventure, a metaverse space on the gaming platform Roblox. This featured Hyundai products and future mobility solutions. Roblox, a rapidly growing entertainment platform in the metaverse industry, has a daily user base of 43 million and served as a perfect launching pad for the Korean car manufacturer.
Mobility Adventure represents the first foray into the metaverse for a global vehicle manufacturing brand. This shared virtual space lets users experience Hyundai Motor’s mobility offerings virtually via immersive, interactive features. Hyundai’s goal with this venture is to attract young, tech-savvy fans to explore their current and future product offerings, helping nurture long-lasting relationships.
Nike acquired the non-fungible token studio RTFKT in December 2021 as a tool to access the metaverse. RTFKT produces NFT collectibles and memes, most notably digital sneakers, and aims to merge culture and gaming. Their most famous collab was with teenage artist FEWOCiOUS, to sell physical sneakers paired with their digital counterparts. RTFKT managed to sell 600 pairs/NFTs in seven minutes as part of the venture and netted more than $3.1 million.
Nike’s acquisition of RTFKT indicates its intent to produce and sell Nike-branded virtual footwear, apparel, and accessories in the metaverse.
Roblox also partnered with fashion giant Gucci in 2021. The result was Gucci Garden, a unique and interactive virtual exhibit. The exhibit’s unveiling was concurrent with Gucci’s release of Gucci Garden Archetypes—an immersive, real-life multimedia experience in Florence, to celebrate the fashion house’s 100th Anniversary.
Gucci Garden was a two-week art installation focusing solely on building brand awareness among young customers. Gucci Garden offered various themed rooms that paid homage to the brand’s campaigns over the years, creating a mesmerizing experience that transcended the laws of physics. While visiting the rooms, each visitor’s avatar transformed into blank, genderless mannequins that could be dressed with digital Gucci products. As users wandered through the virtual world, the avatars absorbed elements of each area. The available Gucci items were sold in a revenue share model to ensure both the platform and brand received value.
Coca-Cola teamed up with 3D creators at Tafi to auction special-edition, virtual NFT loot boxes, which raked in more than $1 million in sales. The auction took place on National Friendship Day and featured digital reimaginations of Coca-Cola’s famous assets that could be used in the metaverse. The loot boxes contained 1-of-1 Coca-Cola branded NFTs, like a futuristic Bubble Jacket Wearable, a Friendship Card, Coke’s vintage 1956 cooler, and a sound visualizer that makes the sound of a bottle opening and being poured. The digital apparel could be worn on Decentraland, an open-source, decentralized gaming platform built on the Ethereum blockchain. The winning bidder also received a real-life Coca-Cola branded fridge.
Participants bid on Coca-Cola Friendship Boxes during the auction, which appeared as virtual avatars of Coke’s classic vending machine. NFT goodies were found upon opening their prizes. Tafi and Coca-Cola created a strong sense of community among crypto users and young audiences, blending nostalgia with cutting-edge technology.
Metaverse business partnerships, like other first-time ventures, have pros and cons. Companies should perform adequate research, strategizing, and planning before tackling the immersive, 3D world. Don’t wait too long though, at its beginning stages, the metaverse allows companies to garner more hype and better reach the next generation of consumers. The metaverse is here to stay, and it’s time you got an entry pass.