Time-limited Metaverse initiatives can dramatically increase success chances – and reduce the risk of marketing backfire. We should consider houses or islands on the Metaverse like a dancing club: it opens just for a limited time on weekends, when it is full of people and fun. Nevertheless, its doors are shut at daytime. If you enter a club without people, all you get is a discomforting impression of emptiness, between silent dancing floors and beer stench.

This is why the first thing to avoid is an empty metaverse. If your branded house is empty, so is your brand. 

This an opportunity and a challenge for the Metaverse: other than a Facebook page, a metaverse place works only if there is a certain number of “live” visitors on the page, present as avatars. To this extent, a Metaverse campaign should consider some basic elements (once again, similar to those of a club): 

  • The island/house  must look good, posh, flamboyant, characteristic – architecture matters, of course
  • You need good PR to have people going there
  • If it is empty, it feels sad
  • It is normally out of fashion after some time
  • It should have a “narrative”, intended as a concept (what do you “do” there?)

As an example, consider the initiative by Brazilian flip-flop maker “Hawaianas” on Fortnite (island code: 6301-8935-3098). When it launched in May 2021 it had great PR; it is beautifully constructed; it has a very engaging narrative, since you can play some sort of enhanced version of hide-and-seek where you can mutate into objects.

It is pretty cool, but there is a problem: it is always empty. It is not that fun to play hide-and-seek alone. Check out this video recorded in January 2022.

 

What is the consequence? A random visitor could believe that the flip-flop brand is not that popular. All the effort of the brand to build a metaverse-presence would then work against brand building. 

Due to the need of live-presence of users, it is better to opt for an “event” formula. This is best explained with a music series – also promoted by Fortnite – titled “Soundwave”: artists present their albums in bespoke metaverse experiences, and users can visit them just for a limited time. This is an example of the last edition with Australian producer “Tones and I”.

 

The experience has been active for 72 hours starting January 21st, 2022, and it was constantly packed with people. It was usable, well designed, with a strong, playable narrative: in one word, entertaining.

One should not think a metaverse presence as the creation of a store that stays there and makes self-promotion. First, not even real-life stores can exist without promotion; secondly, especially in the metaverse one should opt for the “event” formula. 

This is another example from the metaverse “Decentraland”, an indie platform that is more accessible for marketers than Fortnite (see here for a take on relevant metaverses). NFT fashion brand DressX opened a metaverse mall called “Metajuku“, where people can purchase NFT clothing. The problem is that it is always empty and, in the end, it feels really dystopian. 

 

Is this a mistake by DressX? The brand, at least, is committing to developing something in the Metaverse: defining a language, a structure and somehow an aesthetic. The initiative must nevertheless face limits: at any given time, the total number of live users on Decentraland lately is around 2,500 (two-thousand-five-hundred) at best. The platform is not swarming with avatars and the emptiness of Metajuku is not DressX’s fault. 

Still, opting for a one-off event might prove essential for the success of metaverse campaigns. In the end, no commercial is forever!