Marketers explore metaverse worlds – WSJ


Marketers looking to connect with consumers in the virtual world have explored two popular metaverse platforms.

Metaverse is a term for virtual worlds where people can play games and attend events through a digital avatar. To introduce their brands to consumers in these worlds, marketers buy or rent digital space from the platforms or third parties, including a growing number of metaverse development companies that have acquired desirable locations.

Marketers also see potential for new revenue streams in the metaverse, such as leasing digital land they own to other brands or selling digital collectibles called non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, to consumers.

The Sandbox metaverse is home to music artists Snoop Dogg and Deadmau5.


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Rafael Henrique/Zuma Press

The Sandbox has a higher concentration of celebrities and well-known brands, which could attract other marketers, while Decentraland offers more opportunities to experiment and create worlds, said Lewis Smithingham, director of creative solutions at Media.Monks, a marketing services agency owned by S4Capital.

Because the platforms are still nascent and developing features, it may take some time before real successes occur, said Joseph Flaherty, director of content and community at Founder Collective, a technology company. capital risk.

“It just takes years and years to accrue the benefits, to figure out how it all works,” Flaherty said.

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Molson Coors Beverages Co.

promoted its Miller Lite brand in a campaign around this year’s Super Bowl by opening Meta Lite Bar, a virtual tavern, on a digital plot in Decentraland. He leased the space to TerraZero Technologies Inc., a metaverse development company, for an undisclosed amount.

At the Meta Lite Bar, patrons could pour themselves a virtual beer, chat with other users, and play a pre-selected tune from a jukebox. Customers could also purchase Miller Lite digital NFTs such as a “Meta Lite” t-shirt for their avatars, the company said.

Marketers explore metaverse worlds - WSJ

Users who visited the Meta Lite Bar stayed an average of 20 minutes.


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Light Miller

Molson Coors chose Decentraland in part because it offered the ability to restrict access to the bar by age and its accessibility through a desktop browser, said Sofia Colucci, global vice president of Miller brands. The company declined to share how many visitors came to the bar, but said those who did stayed an average of 20 minutes.

Decentraland said it has about 600,000 users per month. In October, it hosted the Metaverse Festival, a four-day music event with performances by Deadmau5 and Paris Hilton.

Decentraland’s proven ability to host large-scale events is one of its draws, according to Andrew Kiguel, executive chairman of Metaverse Group, a metaverse development company.

In November, Metaverse Group, a subsidiary of Tokens.com Corp., purchased about 6,000 square feet in the Decentraland fashion district for about $2.5 million. The Fashion District will be the main venue for Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week in March with brands including Tommy Hilfiger taking part.

Brands such as JPMorgan Chase & Co., Sotheby’s, Samsung Electronics America and even accounting firm Prager Metis International LLC have also set up promotional locations at Decentraland.

“Decentraland’s open standards mean anyone can build an experience without needing permission, and companies own their [intellectual property] on our platform,” said Sam Hamilton, creative director of the nonprofit Decentraland Foundation, which creates tools for the platform and manages its marketing.

Marketers explore metaverse worlds - WSJ

Lands in the sandbox on an April 2021 map.


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the sandbox/Reuters

The Sandbox, which is a subsidiary of Animoca Brands Corp., is still in the testing phase and is expected to open to the public for six temporary periods this year, the company said. Its first temporary opening, held last year from Nov. 29 to Dec. 20, attracted more than 200,000 users, the company said. The Sandbox said it raised $93 million in November in a Series B funding round led by SoftBank Group Corp.

The Sandbox is popular with celebrities and entertainment brands, with musical artists Snoop Dogg and Deadmau5 owning plots of land there. Other landowners include Gucci and the organization behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club, a popular NFT depicting cartoon apes.

Brands can generate revenue by selling NFTs on Sandbox and Decentraland. For example, Snoop Dogg offers an animated decoration called “Snoopverse Early Access Pass” for 525 Sandbox cryptocurrency tokens, known as Sand. That translated to $1,732.50 as of 3 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Decentraland also has its own cryptocurrency, Mana, for transactions on its platform.

Sébastien Borget, co-founder and COO of Sandbox, said brands are entering the metaverse to engage with customers and create more immersive, fun and social experiences.

The visual style of Sandbox is similar to that of Minecraft, the popular Microsoft-owned video game Corp.

said Janine Yorio, chief executive of Everyrealm, a metaverse content and development company that purchased about 3 square miles in the Sandbox for $4.3 million in November.

“As Minecraft users grow and age, they become familiar with this visual style, so I think it was a very smart move on Sandbox’s part to have this box-related look,” Ms. Yorio said. said, referring to the Lego-like characters and landscape in the video game.

Industry watchers expect most metaverse platforms to not extend land into their worlds, in order to maintain a sense of security among landowners. The finite amount of space to buy and rent makes it potentially necessary to experiment in the metaverse now, said Media.Monks’ Smithingham.

“You’re buying people’s attention now and the price for that is really, really, really high,” he said. “And so, provide value, provide meaning, provide interesting stuff, and people will come to your stuff – that’s ultimately where this whole Sandbox and Decentraland stuff will ultimately play out.”

Write to Ann-Marie Alcantara at ann-marie.alcantara@wsj.com

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