Brands are flocking to the metaverse – with mixed results. Through it all, many of them are looking for guidance from their agency partners. Here’s a quick primer to illustrate how top agencies are selling their web3 offerings to clients.
Everyone in the world of advertising is talking about the metaverse. But it isn’t all talk; some of the world’s leading agencies have already planted their flags in the metaverse by launching their own in-house activations. No two of these activations are exactly alike – each will vary depending on the size of the agency, its clients and a range of other factors. To get a handle on where we are so far, here are quick summaries of some of the top offerings, as well as how agencies are activating within the metaverse themselves.
Accenture Interactive’s metaverse continuum
Accenture recently introduced the metaverse continuum, a new business group aimed at guiding clients into the metaverse. “Building upon nearly 15 years of leadership in metaverse-related technology and experience capabilities and over 600 patents, our Accenture Metaverse business group brings 800 of our metaverse-skilled professionals and market-leading capabilities from across Accenture into one group dedicated to designing, executing and accelerating our clients’ metaverse journeys,” the company claims on its website. “We’re calling it the metaverse continuum for a number of reasons,” Mark Curtis, head of innovation and thought leadership at Accenture Interactive, tells The Drum. “Most of all, because it’s going to evolve. What’s happening now … compared to where we’re going to go in 10 or 20 years, it’s going to look completely different. And so, we’re on a journey. And the continuum, to some extent, is both an internal and external signal that we recognize that journey.”
Havas Group’s ‘meta-flagship’ Havas Village
Havas Group currently has 68 brick-and-mortar ‘Havas Villages’ spread across more than 100 countries. Now it’s also the first communications group to own a plot of virtual land in The Sandbox, where it plans to inaugurate its first virtual Village.
“Our new Havas Village will be a ‘meta-flagship’ for the Group, drawing all our engaged communities together in an enriched extension of our bricks-and-mortar Villages. The real world and the virtual will be coming together in the metaverse to offer an immersive and augmented Havas Village experience,” says Stéphane Guerry, president, Havas sports and entertainment, Paris. Using rich programming, exclusive content, connected animation and gamification, the Group will organize conferences, events, concerts, client presentations, product launches and more, says Guerry. “The metaverse is set to open up many new opportunities for brands. To help our clients navigate these new virtual worlds, it is important that we ourselves first have an in-depth understanding of their complexities through our very own experience.
“The metaverse is also a fantastic opportunity for us to attract tomorrow’s top talent, and our new virtual Village will also include a recruitment service, a first in the field of human resources. Over the medium-term, this virtual and immersive dimension will significantly enrich the employee experience, including the onboarding process.”
McCann Worldgroup’s cross-network community
McCann Worldgroup provides a unified full-service approach to leveraging the metaverse as a tool to elevate brand presence, purpose and loyalty, as well as drive revenue across production (Craft), experiences (McCann, Momentum) and commerce and relationship building (MRM). “Our offering is further bolstered by a robust cross-network community of internal metaverse technology and cultural experts, as well as web3 platforms, creators and technology partners, all providing additional strategic and creative guidance to generate metaverse-related creative output,” says a spokesperson.
Mediahub in Decentraland
Mediahub was one of the first to create an office in Decentraland, the metaverse built on the Ethereum blockchain. Each floor of the glass-walled office is dedicated to a different theme: one floor features agency projects, mission and recruiting CTAs, while another is dedicated to showcasing the utility of various non-fungible token (NFT) and metaverse-related activations. The office will be reimagined at the end of March and feature a soon-to-be-announced Mediahub NFT project.
TBWA recently launched NEXT, a platform “which connects TBWA’s agencies and specialist talent through a shared ambition to shape the future of brand experiences, transforming our agencies into a global innovation incubator that imagines and prototypes new creative formats and products that we can rapidly scale,” according to a spokesperson. NEXT is being categorized into five distinct “territories,” one of which is “metaverse and gamification.” Within this territory, the agency will specifically be focusing on gaming as a space “where people spend time socializing, shopping, learning and escaping,” and “building immersive spaces online where consumers can play.”
VaynerMedia has created VaynerNFT, a consultancy firm aimed at helping brands to launch successful NFT campaigns. The firm embarked on its flagship project with Budweiser in 2021. “We’re beyond passionate about NFTs and believe that web3 represents the biggest technology shift of our generation,” VaynerNFT president Avery Akkineni recently told The Drum. “We see the wave of change coming, much like we saw that social media would change how people communicate … and we’re ready to help our partners navigate this shift … VaynerNFT has been involved with dozens of amazing NFT launches, and we’re just getting started.”
WPP’s Metaverse Foundry
The Metaverse Foundry, launched by WPP’s Hogarth Worldwide, is a global network comprised of approximately 700 professionals aimed at helping clients to launch and sustain successful metaverse campaigns. The Foundry – which emphasizes the integration of creativity, community and commerce – is designed to guide brands as they embark into the metaverse, connecting them with the resources that they’ll need to optimize consumer engagement and build campaigns that stand out from the competition. WPP currently has metaverse projects under way for many of its clients, including Bombay Sapphire, Duracell, Pfizer, Pizza Hut, Under Armour and Wendy’s.
The Wunderman Thompson metaverse
The Wunderman Thompson metaverse was launched both to educate its clients about the potential of these new virtual environments and to create a sandbox for them to experiment with the latest web3 innovations, says Gareth Jones, global senior vice-president marketing at Wunderman Thompson. In September, “we became one of the first agencies to launch an in-depth report that outlined what the metaverse is, how it’s changing people’s lives and why brands need to pay attention. We brought this report to life by launching our own metaverse at CES to give clients the opportunity to find out more about this new frontier of customer experience,” he says.
“Moving forward, we will continue to partner with Odyssey to evolve our metaverse through virtual events, immersive client experiences and bespoke thought-leadership to forge a path forward for the industry and ensure we’re at the forefront of this new frontier of marketing.”
This article first appeared in www.thedrum.com
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