The metaverse still appears to be top of mind for many marketers. Just consider a few recent news stories:
• McDonald’s enters the metaverse, files a trademark for virtual restaurant, goods and services. McDonald’s hopes to operate virtual restaurants “featuring actual and virtual goods” and for a virtual restaurant featuring home delivery, according to the February trademark application.
• Heineken introduces virtual beer. Last week, Heineken held a virtual press conference introducing an entirely virtual product, Heineken Silver, whose ad boasts “No calories, no hidden ingredients and no beer.”
• Samsung has opened a space in the metaverse called 837X, a place with a virtual stage for making music, a virtual forest and a virtual pool. There is also a virtual press conference there.
• Coca-Cola is launching Zero Sugar Byte, a new drink, on May 2. The drink drops “for a short time,” the company says. The launch comes after that of Coca-Cola Starlight in February. Starlight was from Coca-Cola Creations, which is charged with introducing limited-edition flavors. Coca-Cola has announced Byte as the next “Coca-Cola Creations Portal.”
• For the 200th birthday of its founder, French luxury brand Louis Vuitton released a phone-based game that included 30 embedded NFTs.
• Metaverse Fashion Week, in March, included DKNY, Estee Lauder and Forever 21, which carried on virtual fashion shows in the virtual world known as Decentraland.
So what exactly are brands doing in the metaverse? Wired recently suggested alternating the term “metaverse” with “cyberspace” to try to wrap your head around the concept.
“Ninety percent of the time, the meaning won't substantially change,” Wired says. “That's because the term doesn't really refer to any one specific type of technology, but rather a broad shift in how we interact with technology."
At the moment, Nvidia, Roblox, Meta and Snap are building the infrastructure that will one day become the metaverse
That is, if the metaverse ever actually arrives. It remains to be seen whether the metaverse lives up to its promise or merely amounts to cool VR games and digital avatars on Zoom calls. Brands will have to figure out what role, if any, they play in that scenario.