Elsewhere in marketing, the metaverse is also having an impact, whatever its reality. While it might be considered a buzzword or overhyped by some, Facebook’s rebrand to Meta has undoubtedly spurred on a flurry of interest in the space, with brands and influencers experimenting in campaigns designed for a new interactive realm.
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This has mostly involved brands creating digital goods that can be bought or traded in various spaces. For example, the likes of Gucci have launched digital items for sale on Roblox, while Balenciaga has enabled Fortnite players to purchase digital outfits within the game. Meanwhile, metaverse platform Decentraland launched its very own fashion week in March, which saw a number of brands create digital fashion that can be bought and worn as NFTs.
So, what does this mean for creators? Simply put, it means more opportunities, both to establish their own presence in the metaverse and forge connections with brands that want to target consumers there. At the same time, however, there’s scope for new competition from new virtual influencers, or avatars (that are designed to look and appear like real-life folk).
This is not a brand-new concept – Lil’ Miquela, who now has three million Instagram followers, was one of the first virtual influencers of note. Now, however, we are seeing brands create their own influencers specifically for the metaverse, with this opportunity enabling them to demonstrate greater control over influencer marketing, and to create digital avatars that uniquely represent their brand or product. In 2021, for example, Prada re-launched ‘Candy’, a virtual model, as the face of its new fragrance. Described by Prada as an “invitation to rethink reality”, Candy is Prada’s attempt to connect with a younger generation on platforms like TikTok and Twitch, as well as to create an influencer that can easily cross over to other digital channels.
In the future, we could also see real-life influencers create digital versions or avatars of themselves, too. High-profile names have already done this – Justin Bieber teamed up with virtual entertainment company Wave last year for an interactive stage concert, which saw Bieber control his digital avatar by wearing a motion-capture suit. With interest growing in the metaverse, it’s certainly a new opportunity for influencers (and brands) to explore.