Mini USA is offering users a virtual “Miniverse” racing experience in Meta Horizon Worlds, the brand announced this week at Cannes.
A video promoting the effort has the tagline “Jump In. Buckle Up. Let’s Drive.”
Mini USA and its creative agency, Pereira O’Dell, partnered with Meta Horizon Worlds creators to bring the experience to life. The Miniverse aims to give fans the virtual thrill of customizing and racing a Mini with others in a whole new way, according to the automaker.
“We went to our friends at Meta with a literal sketch of what we envisioned as a step into the metaverse,” said Rah Mahtani, brand communications manager, Mini USA. “Our goal was to bring the thrill of driving a Mini into the virtual world. Meta loved it and paired us with two brilliant creators within Horizon Worlds to fast-track this project.”
This is the first time an automotive brand has teamed up with Meta’s Creative Shop to create a presence in Meta Horizon Worlds, and Mini is currently one of only a handful of global consumer brands to pioneer a virtual brand experience with Horizon Worlds creators, according to the brand.
“We don’t always strive to be first, but we’re very open to taking the opportunity when it aligns with consumer consumption habits and our brand DNA,” Mahtani tells Marketing Daily. “Mini is a community brand that is united by a love of driving. We saw Horizon Worlds as the perfect place to bring those two brand pillars together."
Debuting at the 2022 Cannes Lions: International Festival of Creativity, the Miniverse experience was available in Meta Horizon Worlds as of June 21 to all Meta Quest 2 headset users in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Upon entering the Miniverse, players can engage with others and select their own unique Mini for competitive head-to-head racing. Customized details can include changing a car's colors, adding bonnet stripes, and topping it with a contrast roof -- one of Mini’s signature design features.
Players can also try on different racing suits just like the ones worn by the Mini John Cooper Works Race Team in real life.
“It’s really about building awareness and passion amongst audiences we wouldn’t regularly be able to reach from more traditional advertising,” Mahtani says. “We’re keen to understand new audiences, their behaviors, interests, and keep showing them who we are as a brand.”
Up to four drivers at a time can participate. And spectators can either help or create chaos by pressing buttons to flick cars off a ramp or block them with “whack-a-mole” style pins, or even help friends with timely speed boosts.
People can also experience the Miniverse on their mobile phone through a new Facebook and Instagram AR effect.
Launched in 2021, Meta Horizon Worlds is a free social experience that allows people to connect in new ways with immersive virtual reality, according to Meta.