Things are moving fast in the metaverse. Depending on who you speak to, this futuristic virtual world is either the next big thing for marketing — and for almost everything else — or an overhyped fad. Here’s what you need to know from this past week:
Virtual clothing comes into fashion, fast. What if half the clothing that you owned was entirely virtual? According to a new report from Vice Media-owned agency Virtue Worldwide, that could soon be the case for the average person.
The virtual marketplace might be young, but it’s growing fast, fueled by investments from big name brands and a desire among consumers to express identity and brand loyalty in new ways. The new report, titled “The ScreenWear Paper,” sheds light on just how quickly virtual goods (and pieces of virtual clothing, in particular) are becoming mainstream. 82% of the survey’s global respondents, for example, said that they had already purchased a virtual commodity. Almost all of them (94%) say that they “foresee digital fashion becoming mainstream.” And here’s the real kicker: on average, respondents say that they expect nearly half (46%) of their wardrobe to be virtual five years from now. Let that sink in. The average person believes that in five years, half of all their clothing will exist not in the real world, but in the metaverse. Brands be warned: avatar drip is the next big thing.
The Walking Dead NFT collection comes alive. Our culture’s love affair with “The Walking Dead” continues. This past week, NFT studio Orange Comet announced that it has dropped a second-round of NFTs commemorating the iconic TV show. This latest round of NFTs, along with an earlier round that dropped on the same day as the airing of Part 2 of the show’s final season (and which Snoop Dawg joined in on), was created in partnership with AMC, the network which was home to TWD for each of its 11 seasons. The new NFT “Walker Access Passes” will feature some of “the most terrifying and beautiful moments” of the show and will enable access to collectible merchandise, subsequent NFT drops, and chances to be admitted to exclusive events.
Professional Bull Riding saddles up with NFTs, dangles ‘ceremonial ownership’ of actual bulls. In a new NFT drop, Professional Bull Riding (PBR) fan Paula Gregory was granted “ceremonial ownership” of an actual, flesh-and-blood bull. She may not ride or groom the bull herself, but her name will now appear on the big screen at PBR events when that bull emerges out of the gates for a competition. The NFT project was launched in collaboration with SmartMedia Labs, a Colorado-based adtech company that’s helping brands to bring their marketing strategies to the blockchain.
NFTs are “really the future of CRM” in the sense that they can open the door to opportunities for real and impactful consumer engagement, says SmartMedia chief executive Tyler Moebius. Case in point: the company’s partnership with PBR will also give fans an opportunity to buy a NFT that will come with a physical framed portrait of an actual competitive bull ride, along with a sample of the soil from that ride. It’s a digital asset, in other words, that’s connected with a tangible piece of fandom that will make fans feel viscerally closer to and connected with the sport. “Some of the criticism around [NFTs] is like, ‘Oh, it’s just all digital, it’s not something physical that you own… [but in this case] you do, you own a physical bull, or you own a piece of the soil. [We’re] really bringing the two worlds together to really capture the moment for the fans.”
American Eagle throws a Roblox party for Gen Z.
Youth apparel brand American Eagle has descended into Roblox, the popular metaverse platform that began as a game for young kids and has evolved to one of the biggest zones of virtual business development in the metaverse. The brand recruited a handful of celebrities — including pro tennis player Coco Gauff and actor Madelyn Cline — to build buzz about the multiplatform “Members Always” campaign, which will include a country-club style party launching on Roblox on March 11. Visitors to the virtual party will be able to shop, play games, and interact with the celebrities that have been recruited by the brand for the event.
The campaign will be focused on inclusivity, openness, and community. As part of the effort, the brand will also be spreading awareness about “Future Together,” its new philanthropic program which will award a total of $200,000 in grants to 20 individuals who are working to improve their communities. “AE’s Members Always campaign represents our belief that this generation has the power to come together and create a place where everyone belongs,” Jennifer Foyle, president and executive director of AE and Aerie, said in a statement. The new campaign launched on Instagram earlier this week and will continue to roll out via Roblox, Snapchat, and TikTok.