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Inside the brand game
Most brands are testing the potential of Web3. The technology is widely leveraged for marketing campaigns and engagement with digitally savvy young consumers. Few have been able to create tangible business models, while others have monetized NFTs. But the fact that the virtual Gucci Garden on Roblox has attracted 19 million visitors and the success that brands like Burberry have had with NFTs, however, seems to suggest that brands are changing. in the right direction.
BMW: BMW has built its own metaverse world called Joytopia which, according to Stefan Ponikva, vice president of brand communication and brand experience, will allow the German automaker to take brand communication to a new level. Joytopia has three virtual worlds: Re:THINK, Re:IMAGINE and Re:BIRTH. Each is themed around elements that are an integral part of BMW’s strategy: circular economy, electric mobility, urban mobility and sustainability. In Re:THINK, users are introduced to the building blocks of the circular economy. The Re:IMAGINE world is the stage for important presentations and messages while Re:BIRTH provides insight into the opportunities for individual mobility in cities. Joytopia users can navigate the three worlds through their avatars, which have the freedom to run, fly, and jump. They can choose the shapes and colors they want to wear their avatars in. During public events, users can create their own spaces, take selfies and post them on social networks. The group says that on the day of the launch, more than 1,50,000 visits from more than 30 countries, with an average duration of 13 minutes, were recorded.
Balenciaga: French fashion house Balenciaga launched an exclusive collection of curated apparel and accessories last September on the gaming metaverse platform Fortnite, which has more than 350 million subscribers worldwide. The campaign involved dressing four of the game’s most popular characters, Doggo, Banshee, Ramirez, and Knight, in Balenciaga outfits or “skins” as they’re called in the game’s lingo. A virtual Balenciaga store in the arena of game allowed users to purchase the fashion house’s items using V-Bucks, an in-game currency used in Fortnite, and decorate their in-game avatars at Balenciaga. The partnership has extended to the physical domain. Balenciaga outfits were made available on the brand’s online and selected stores. The collaboration seems like a shrewd move given that Fortnite players spend almost 50% of their time in creative mode, used to design their own universes and play role-playing games.
Dolce & Gabbana: Italian brand Dolce & Gabbana unveiled a bespoke collection of 20 Metaverse clothing looks during the first Metaverse Fashion Week hosted on virtual world Decentraland earlier this year. Last year, it teamed up with luxury NFT platform UNXD to launch a bundle of nine NFTs called “Collezione Genesi.” The NFT collection, which includes handcrafted, museum-quality objects personally designed by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana for UNXD, sold for nearly $6 million. According to details on the CoinDesk website, The Doge Crown NFT raised the highest 423.5 ETH (Ether, the cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network) or around $1.3 million. Reportedly, five coins were physical creations (winners of these NFTs also received physical merchandise). The company recently launched the DGFamily NFT, which allows holders to enjoy benefits such as access to exclusive drops, events and collaborations.
Louis Vuitton: The brand launched a mobile app game with 30 embedded NFTs, some created by renowned American digital artist Michael Joseph Winkelmann, as part of celebrations launched last year to commemorate its founder’s 200th birthday. The game takes players through an adventurous journey spanning virtual worlds to help protagonist Vivienne collect 200 candles which will unlock postcards detailing Vuitton’s life journey. Postcards were designed as NFTs. The game has had over two million downloads since its launch in August 2021.
Gucci: The brand was one of the first in the luxury industry to delve into NFTs when in May 2021 it auctioned off a one-of-a-kind artwork from the Gucci Aria campaign film on Christie’s and donated proceeds to UNICEF USA. The auction would have closed with a final sale price of $25,000. The House has also collaborated with Superplastic (which makes animated celebrities, vinyl toys and digital collectibles) to create a series of limited-edition rare NFTs.