3 brands hijacking the metaverse for real social issues

It’s hard to go a week without hearing about the metaverse. And it’s not over, as the real metaverse, unique and interconnected, shouldn’t exist for 5 to 10 years. This gives brands time to experiment with new approaches in existing virtual universes, from Meta Horizon World to Decentraland and Minecraft. But some brands prefer hijack metaverse codes to bring us back to the real world instead. Example with 3 cases of brands that put social and environmental issues at the center of the metaverse: Surroundings, Rexona (Unilever) and McCain Foods.

3 Metaverse ESG cases: Entourage, Rexona (Unilever) and McCain Foods.

The Entourage app

Since its creation in 2015, the association Entourage has worked to strengthen social ties and the inclusion of people who are ostracized by precariousness. In particular, Entourage organizes training to learn how to deal with the homeless. The association has also set up a social network on mobile, The Entourage app, where residents, associations and homeless people can connect to get to know each other, discuss and carry out solidarity actions together. This network has more than 150,000 committed citizens.

In June 2022, Entourage received a bronze award at Cannes Lion 2022 (in Brand Experience & Activation) for his experience with Will, the Metaverse’s first homeless person and advocate for the invisible. This campaign was activated by TBWA\Paris on March 31, at the end of the winter break and ahead of the last presidential election.

Excerpt from the launch press release: “As colossal investments in the virtual world accelerate, as the metaverse makes inroads into presidential campaigns, and as virtual worlds build, social isolation has never been stronger. With Will, Entourage questions the evolution of our society, of social bonds and invites us to watch over the most insecure, in real life”.

Will’s avatar was present on social networks to engage in conversation with internet users, but also to interview other homeless people. Results in terms of exposure: 960,000 views, 7.1 million euros in advertising equivalent and 850% increase in visibility of the “Entourage” brand as well as international media coverage (TBWA figures).

Rexona (Unilever)

Consumer brands cannot do without experimenting with new social networks. They must be present where the general public come to be entertained, informed and form an opinion. It is therefore not surprising to find in the metaverse Unilever with its deodorant brand Rexona (also known worldwide as Sure and Degree).

But the chosen approach has the advantage of conveying important messages to the real world. Rexona thus joined the Decentraland platform in April 2022 to organize “Grad Marathon” (or rather Metathon). It was the very first marathon organized in the metaverse, and the brand took the opportunity to highlight “inclusive” avatars. Users could choose appropriate clothing and wheelchairs for their avatars to represent different disabilities. Paralympic athlete Blake Leeper took part in the race with his blade-like prosthetic legs. The virtual marathon also included handicap accessible architecture to promote inclusivity.

Comment by Kathryn SwallowVice President of Global Brand Degree (press release): “We hope the Degree marathon will spark conversations about why representation matters—both in the metaverse and the physical world—and its power to challenge societal norms.”

McCain Foods

Canadian food company McCain, known for its famous frozen fries, announced on October 28 a partnership with Roblox and Bored & Hungry, the first NFT-themed fast food chain. The idea: a game in the metaverse to help young people understand the problems of conventional agriculture and the benefits of regenerative practices. (announced)

In the game “Farms of the Future” players earn rewards by growing potatoes using regenerative farming techniques (or regenerative organic farming, a sustainable approach to farming, akin to permaculture). On the agenda: planting cover crops, integrating livestock through rotational grazing and promoting biodiversity.

Why these educational efforts? Because McCain has committed to implementing regenerative farming practices on 100% of its potato acreage worldwide by the end of 2030. (McCain has measured 6% lower yields on agricultural land every year, a consequence of the effects of climate change. The company therefore encourages potato farmers to engage in the transition Details La Tribune) The company also wants educate young consumers to these efforts to transform the food system. This operation is part of a global environmental program with the #SaveOurSoil initiative and the “sustainable” Regen Fries range.

Comment by Christine Kalvenesglobal head of innovation and marketing at McCain. “It is important that we reach young consumers with the right message, in the right place, at the right moments of receptivity – to meet them where they are. This will be important to raise awareness of building a more sustainable food system through regenerative agriculture. » (details at Sustainablebrands.com)

Severine Godet

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