How AR, VR & Web3 Technology Deepen Brand Connections with Consumers

December 11, 2023

Web3 has helped usher in a new era of technology that engages the youngest generations. Using AR (augmented reality) with giant billboards (think NYC’s Times Square), or through VR (virtual reality) platforms like the metaverse, an entire new consumer base has emerged with a new behavior and expectations for Fortune 1000 companies and brands. So, how do creators and brands use this technology, combined with Web3, to connect with consumers?

At the 2023 D2 X Advertising Week event, Racquel Douglas, Head of Athlete Partnerships at Snap, Inc. (parent company to Snapchat), joined 3D visual experts David Morris and Shxpir Huang to talk about how these technologies are being used, in conjunction with Web3 tech like blockchain, to leverage new types of advertising campaigns, aimed at onboarding these youngest consumers.

Currently, Snap, Inc. is using AR technology to enhance the current world for customers, rather than viewing it as leaving and going to another world. From a creative perspective, a brand can then collaborate to bring the consumer along on the journey and help them view something in real time in their own home. Racquel shared:

“I was able to see LaMelo Ball launch the Melo Ball one with Puma, and you can just actually take your phone, point it to your foot, and actually bring that to life. So I think that’s the future of retail. It’s just real immersive experiences and brand extension.”

Trends in Web3 Technology

When asked about trends shaping augmented reality adoption amongst athletes and sports brands, Shxpir, a well-known creative director known for his fake art, noted that “just as cash is king, storytelling is everything.” When working with top-tier talent such as actors, artists, athletes, and influencers, he sees their digital likeness as being valuable not only in the moment, but in perpetuity. Racquel also shared one of her areas of interest is the trend that top athletes are using A/R to train for their sport, and she sees the adoption of this by the average consumer as something to watch for soon.

NYCAP3D brought their 3D scanner with over 150 cameras to the event to give attendees the opportunity to make a 3D image of themselves. These images can be used anywhere, and for brands, music, art, and retail have had the earliest adoption rates. Brands and talent are quick to want to utilize AR, VR, and various other immersive technologies. However, the hard truth is that quality experiences using this technology come with a lot of growing pains and often a hefty financial commitment. Athletes, creators, and entertainers may try to implement these big, complex ideas. To be successful, leveraging  creative experts to help, will bring better results. Racquel noted that “when you have a good idea and you use data to support what you’re doing, truly, technology becomes the enabler.”

  • There are a lot of buzzwords to learn in Web3.
  • The market is already beginning to see the offering of platforms where these various technologies (i.e., AR, VR, AI, and blockchain) run in the background.
  • Brands and talent are now able to more easily access this tech to bring a talent’s product or a specific brand to life.
  • Never underestimate the importance of legal advice for IP (intellectual property).

One important point shared during the discussion was around the need to engage legal services to protect the talent/brand and the loss of income from not owning the digital likeness of a product or person. One scenario noted was the “Madden Effect” where LeBron James had his tattoos visible in a video game, and the tattoo artist was using that to market themselves.

So, how can talent think about the future of this technology? Imagine if Michael Jackson or Prince had a 3D avatar, benefited by ten years’ worth of AI training – how could that be monetized? Currently, the estate is only able to monetize previous images or music, for example. With 3D technologies, big name talent can now be in multiple places at once, using AR glasses for example, to perform virtually. This is brand extension that brings current and future monetarization opportunities.

Web3 Technology Takeaways:

  • 2024 is the year of the digital avatar.
  • For talent, athletes, and entertainers, it’s really easy to own your IP – make sure you’re protected.
  • AR and VR can bring a strong emotional connection and create that real intimate connection with the brand.
  • Gen Z and younger generations have short attention spans, so marketers have to catch that attention within a few seconds.
  • Content is king; the more content you have, the more relevant you’re always going to be.
  • To be successful, have a solid campaign strategy that utilizes this technology appropriately.

Watch the entire session video here for more examples, and visit D2 for similar articles and resources.



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