From Web1 to Web3
Meeting in the metaverse couldn’t be possible without the evolution of Web3. Web3 can be traced back to the 1990s and the early 2000s, with what is now referred to as Web1. Think blogs and web pages created by one central authority and read passively by users. Web2 came about around 2005 with the introduction of user-created and user-interactive content via platforms like YouTube and Facebook—which still have one central authority controlling content and, in many cases, monetizing that content and data. Web3, on the other hand, is the decentralization of systems and applications, allowing for more personalized information and more secure personal data.
Recently Facebook renamed and rebranded itself as Meta—a direct reference to the metaverse. The metaverse is still largely undefined as it is still being built, not unlike the internet of the 1970s, which existed but was still too nebulous to pin down with an exact definition. Metaverse is less a type of technology than a way to interact with technology. In the metaverse, it could refer to virtual or augmented realities, the creating and sharing of digital assets or the use of non-fungible tokens, also known as NFTs.
Brands in the metaverse
According to InfluencerMarketingHub, some of the brands that have begun marketing in the metaverse include the usual forward-thinking subjects: Nike, Coca Cola and Vans. In 2021, Nike unveiled its virtual Nikeland, an interactive world hosted on Roblox—one of the most popular metaverse platforms. In Nikeland, users can customize avatars, play games, and share design looks.
The beer brand, Stella Artois, has entered the metaverse via its digital horse racing platform, Zed Run. Expanding on the brand’s sponsorship of horse racing IRL, Zed Run allows users to virtually breed and purchase horses, including their own unique breeds.
And the fast-food chain Wendy’s, known for its glib Twitter feed that roasts others brand and Twitter users faster than a chicken sandwich, is leveraging Fortnite’s popularity with the game “Food Fight.” Wendy’s entered the game with the intention of destroying the “frozen burger patties” of Fortnite’s “Durr Burger” restaurant, subtly underscoring the brand’s commitment to “fresh, never frozen.” A broadcast of the game on Twitch, garnered more than 250,000 views.
These brands and others are meeting the next generations of consumers where they are—in the metaverse—and promoting and encouraging what they value most: individuality.