What is “advertisement”? We won’t be using that term in the Metaverse

Advertising and Video Games: Troy Hitch, Global Chief Innovation Officer, RAPP

RAPP Worldwide
Marketing Services
New York, Vereinigte Staaten von Amerika
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Troy Hitch
Global Chief Innovation Officer RAPP

With so many forms of digital media, and new ones always on the horizon, how do you determine which way of pushing content is the most viable?

For us, it’s determining first and foremost if our brands’ customers are actively engaging and extracting value from those destinations. The “Metaverse” is full of plenty of interesting early adopter opportunities, but we’re guiding our brands to make sure that the audience is there and — most importantly — active.

How does the boundless framework of the metaverse make it appealing for brands and marketers to get involved in this new form of media?

I wandered into a casino in Decentraland and was fascinated by the fact that the designers of the casino had made so many choices to make it look like an IRL casino. Gaudy statues, awful carpet patterns, etc. When you have limitless possibilities, why would you work so hard to make it look and feel like the terrible thing we already have in reality? One of the most interesting conversations we get into these days goes something like this: “Why does a shoe store have to be in a building? Or even on the ground? Maybe users can select and try on shoes while they’re cloud-hopping. Or tree-climbing. Or maybe the shoes are floating in a giant fishbowl and the users are fish. Fish with feet, of course.” It can be hard as creatives to have such a wide open space to explore (we love tight briefs), but it’s thrilling to see how much convention-breaking is possible right now.

What plans, if any, does your agency have to expand its reach into the metaverse?

We are currently developing in-world research labs on a couple of platforms that will allow us to ideate, deploy, test and learn in a continuous 24-hour cycle that we’re calling The Mayfly. We’re establishing these spaces in the context of consumer categories where we have proven marketing experience and world-class clients so that we can invite our agency partners and clients to rapidly test and learn with us. When we have a hit, our plan is to move to scale and deploy it into production quickly, test, learn and then do it all over again.

In what ways can the increase in virtual presence lead to more successful campaigns and what would a virtual space allow you to do that traditional media hasn’t?

Frankly, I think this is yet to be fully understood. With the exception of Roblox, none of the other platforms that are on our radar have reached any meaningful level of maturity yet to demonstrate their full power as compared to traditional media. Without a doubt, the value propositions are unique and like any emerging platform, we’ll have to master that before we can drive game-changing ROI.

How do you anticipate the metaverse shaping new forms of storytelling in advertising?

Forgive the cliché, but we’re going to have to become more adept at Storylistening. God, I can’t even believe I just typed that. But it’s true. Users will make their own stories and the great brands are going to learn how to not get in their way, but rather come along for the ride and become an indispensable part of their story. Of course, we will have to bring serious game design chops and architect environments that create the fuel for the fun, but if the Metaverse is promising anything, it’s a full on user-centric universe.

Given the interactive nature of these virtual spaces, how do you see this affecting the way consumers consume and engage with advertisements?

What is “advertisements”? We won’t be using that term in the Metaverse.