Inside Brand Play
Most brands are testing the potential of Web3. The technology is largely being leveraged for marketing campaigns and engaging with young, digital savvy consumers. Not many have been able to craft tangible business models, while others have monetised NFTs But the fact that the virtual Gucci Garden on Roblox attracted 19 million visitors and success that brands like Burberry have had with NFTs, however, seem to suggest that brands are moving in the right direction.
BMW: BMW has built its own metaverse world called Joytopia that vice president of brand communication and brand experience, Stefan Ponikva, claims will enable 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 integral to BMW’s strategy—circular economy, electric mobility, urban mobility and sustainability. In Re:THINK, users are familiarised with building blocks of the circular economy. The Re:IMAGINE world represents the stage for important presentations and messages while Re:BIRTH provides insights into opportunities for individual mobility in cities. Joytopia users can navigate the three worlds via their avatars, which have freedom to run, fly and hop. They can choose forms and colours in which they wish to don their avatars. At public events, users can create own spaces, take selfies and post them on social media. The group says on launch day, more than 1,50,000 visits from over 30 countries, with average duration of 13 minutes, were recorded.
Balenciaga: French fashion house Balenciaga launched an exclusive collection of clothes and select accessories last September on gaming metaverse platform Fortnite, which has a global following of 350 million-plus. The campaign involved dressing up four of the game’s most popular characters, Doggo, Banshee, Ramirez and Knight, in Balenciaga outfits or ‘skins’, as they are called in gaming parlance. A virtual Balenciaga store within the gaming arena allowed users to buy the fashion house’s items using V-Bucks, an in-game currency used in Fortnite, and deck up their gaming avatars in Balenciaga. The partnership extended into the physical realm. Balenciaga outfits were made available on the brand’s online and select brick-and-mortar stores. The collaboration seems an astute move given that Fortnite players spend nearly 50% time in creative mode, used to design own universe and play role-playing games.
Dolce & Gabbana: Italian brand Dolce & Gabbana unveiled a bespoke collection of 20 looks of metaverse wearables at the first Metaverse Fashion Week hosted on virtual world Decentraland earlier this year. Last year, it had partnered with luxury NFT platform UNXD to launch a bouquet of nine NFTs called ‘Collezione Genesi.’ The NFT collection, featuring hand-made, museum-grade items personally designed by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana for UNXD, was sold for close to $6 million. According to details on the CoinDesk website, The Doge Crown NFT garnered the highest 423.5 ETH (Ether, the cryptocurrency of the ethereum network) or about $1.3 million. Reportedly, five pieces were physical creations (winners of these NFTs were given physical products too). The company recently released the DGFamily NFT, which allows holders to avail 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 famed American digital artist Michael Joseph Winkelmann, as part of celebrations initiated last year to commemorate its founder’s 200th birth anniversary. The game takes players through an adventurous trail spanning virtual worlds to help protagonist Vivienne collect 200 candles that will unlock postcards detailing Vuitton’s life journey. The postcards have been fashioned as NFTs. The game has seen more than two million downloads since 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 a unique artwork drawn from the Gucci Aria campaign film on Christie’s and donated the proceeds to UNICEF USA. The auction reportedly closed with a final sale price of $25,000. The House has also collaborated with Superplastic (which crafts animated celebs, vinyl toys and digital collectibles) to create a series of rare, limited-edition NFTs.