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L’Oreal Paris: A Branded Virtual Goods campaign from KZero

L’Oreal Paris (UK) has launched their branded virtual goods campaign in Second Life with strategy, planning and implementation provided by KZero.

The campaign has been created to promote a range of real life and virtual world make-up looks across Second Life and is comprised of the following elements:


Four real world make-up looks have been created and made available to residents as branded virtual goods. These looks have been created as skins and shapes. Second Life was selected as the most appropriate metaverse for this campaign due to the presence of early adopters falling into their target market as well as the incumbent demand for avatar customisation.

The first two make-up looks are Vintage Glamour (featuring Penelope Cruz)and Some like it Scarlett (featuring Scarlett Johansson).

You can see all the make-up looks here.

Virtual retailing and distribution strategy

Rather than create an island-based venue and attempt to drive traffic out from the mainland, instead a selection of existing Second Life fashion metabrands have partnered with L’Oreal Paris to promote and stock the make-up looks.

Continue reading →

25 Nov

A buyers guide to Virtual Retailing. Part 3 – Dynamic Merchandising


Creating 3D representations of real world products and using them as the prime focus for a retail transaction or environment is called dynamic merchandising. Both metabrands and real world products can use this technique to sell.

Interestingly, the concept of dynamic merchandising is also the basis for a newly emerging marketing facet in virtual worlds – Product placement. Related article: Supersize Me, design values in virtual worlds.

Learn about Static Merchandising here.

Here’s some examples of dynamic merchandising….

25 Nov

A buyers guide to Virtual Retailing. Part 2 – Static Merchandising


Part 2 of this series explaining virtual retailing focuses on Static Merchandising. This is defined as the presentation of real world products in a virtual world using 2D displays.

This is the area some real world brands are mistakingly looking hardest at. Static merchandising relates to displaying real world product images in a virtual store. Although many companies think this is virtual retailing, it is the weakest application of it. And of all five of the categories explained, this is the one that offers the lowest level of engagement.

Why? Because a really crucial point with virtual retailing is this – if the experience and process is better delivered via another channel (such as an e-commerce website) then whats the incentive to use virtual retailing? If theres no added value in place, then its highly unlikely to be a revenue stream worth pursuing for the foreseeable future.

Disappointingly in this context, the attributes of virtual worlds (collaboration, interaction and on-the-fly customisation for example) are not being maximised (or even considered in some instances) and the perception that the ?¢‚ǨÀúcoolness of having a ?¢‚ǨÀúvirtual store is sufficient to drive response and sales. I would argue that this is a short-term strategy with limited upside for real world brands looking to penetrate the virtual retailing marketplace.

Interestingly, static merchandising in its execution is actually ironic. Why? Because virtual worlds are 3D environments. Displaying a real world picture in a 2D picture format is an under-utilisation of available resources.

Here’s some examples of Static Merchandising.

Continue reading →

Too Fast, Too Curious. Cars in Second Life part 2

There are more unofficial cars in Second Life than official ones – this is the case not only with the automobile sector but with most other product categories.

So what do the real world brand owners do when they see their products recreated in virtual worlds? The 5 Rules of Virtual Brand Management explains the options available.

Shown below is a selection of the virtual cars created in Second Life by metabrands such as MH Motors, ACC, EM Cars and Fox Motors. Can you spot the odd one out?

Part 1 is here.


second-life-cars6.jpg Continue reading →

A buyers guide to Virtual Retailing. Part 1


‘Virtual retailing’ is a buzz-word being used a lot at the moment.

But what exactly is it? In its base form, virtual retailing is defined as ‘using a digital virtual environment to facilitate and create a purchase’. However, as about to be explained, virtual retailing has several facets.

Here are the K Zero definitions of the different types of virtual retailing….

1. Metabrand pureplay

This refers to the process of selling virtual products in a virtual world. In this instance, there is no link or reference to a real-world product. In fact, there is no real world product at all – the offering is purely virtual addressing a consumption need purely in the virtual space. The terms Metabrand and Metabranding were invented by K Zero and now commonly used to describe virtual products.

Importantly, with metabrand pureplays, the purchase transaction occurs in-world, not via a website. And, the purchase mechanic is instant. No logging into an account (because you’re already logged in). Gratification is instant too – in this scenario, the product is delivered instantly. You pay, you get.

And at present, it’s the owners of virtual worlds that are enabling and providing this instant payment mechanic. However, it will not be long before real world financial services companies want a piece of this action.

Some might think that metabrand pureplays are niche in terms of the types of products available in a virtual world. Not so. In Second Life alone, there’s almost 250,000 individual products or sets of products available for purchase. And these products cross several different categories. The graph below (data sourced from SLExchange – explained later) shows at a top level the categories containing virtual goods in SL.

Continue reading →

30 Oct

20 trends defining virtual worlds – Techdigest part 1

Metabrands, Virtual Research

Techdigest did a good job in live-blogging the recent Virtual Worlds Forum event in London and (like most tech-based media outlets) appear to be devoting more column inches to the metaverse space.

Of course, there’s a lot of land-grab going on at the moment, everyone keen to position themselves as thought-leaders in this sector. Techdigest has just published their ’20 trends defining virtual worlds’, basically a summary of some of the key drivers and hot discussion points. Full article here.

Here’s their first 10….

1. Shedloads of virtual worlds will be launched in 2008. I guess that depends on the definition of shedloads. There’s certainly going to be a few – and I’d hazard a guess that some of these will fail. The K Zero presentation from Virtual Worlds Fall covers the important elements critical to new world growth, falling into the market development, product development and diversification categories.

2. Teen-focused virtual worlds are huge. Indeed they are. And the residents of worlds such as Club Penguin, Habbo and Whyville are the leaders of tomorrow in terms of virtual worlds. K Zero forecasts for 2008 growth of these worlds (and others) can be seen here. As I write this post, two of my three boys are logged into Club Penguin and number three is wrestling to kick them off.

3. Brands still get it wrong. True dat. However, some brands are getting it right and for (almost) every brand making mistakes, there’s another one creating success. Let’s not forget here that Second Life gets the lionshare of media attention. Brands are present in other words as well and doing well. Projects involving There, Kaneva and Whyville (to mention just three) are worth reading. Two key things to remember when considering virtual world marketing: The importance of having a plan and using media planning to determine the right world for the brand, product or service.

4. There’s a problem with communication. This refers to the terminology used to describe and explain metaverses as opposed to in-world comms. I’d agree that there’s a lot of terminology but a necessary ‘evil’ (probably too strong a word) bearing in mind that technology is the backbone of these worlds and the sector although still small, is growing in several different directions.

5. There will be big growth in corporate use of virtual worlds. Totally agree. And, already there’s some major companies promoting the use of virtual worlds for corporate use. However, it’s still surprising how many large companies prevent access to virtual worlds from the desktop. For my money, 3D intranets (intraverses) will be a key growth area, particularly for companies with operations in more than one country.

6. Virtual items will be a big moneyspinner. Techdigest is refering to Metabrands. For companies looking to generate revenue streams from marketing activity in virtual worlds, metabrands are the way forward

7. Mobile is a bit of a wildcard. I see mobile devices being used to supplement, not complement virtual worlds. The key problem here is size – screen size – the lack of it. As we’re seeing with projects like Vodafone Inside Out, it’s possible to use mobile devices to create and offer augmental services for virtual activity.

8. Governments are waking up to virtual worlds. This is true in several areas. Government organisations are starting to use worlds like SL for marketing purposes (the Second House of Sweden for example), as well as for candidate promotion and as ‘outposts‘ for debate. Some of these debates have turned a little feisty.

9. Is it an online game or a virtual world, or both? A good point. By definition, the vast majority of virtual worlds are not games, they are environments. Games need rules, have points and winners and losers. However, some worlds are being created that combine both elements – these are called Metammogs, Football Superstars being a prime example.

10. China is getting into virtual worlds. Of course, we know about HiPiHi, the Chinese equivalent of Second Life. The Chinese government is currently planning the Bejiing Cyber Recreation District.

27 Sep

PlayStation Home delayed, but Dress is revealed


PlayStation Home delayed, but Dress is revealed. The official launch of PlayStation Home has been pushed back to Spring 2008. However, Takamasa Shichisawa (Tourist Trophy Director) announced an upcoming expansion pack called ‘Dress’ at the recent Tokyo Game Show.

Dress provides the facility for avatars to customise their appearance with branded clothing. Within Home itself there will be four Dress zones:

  • Dress Town: a retail themed environment allowing avatars to shop for items
  • Dress Studio: the area where avatars can try on the clothing, adjust it and even create their own brands
  • Dress Museum: an area dedicated to the history of clothing as well as media showing fashion in movies
  • Dress Park: the location for planned fashion shows and the place where avatars can swap items

So why introduce this service? Continue reading →

Millions Of Us discuss virtual brand management

Millions Of Us discuss virtual brand management. Today at 6pm GMT/10am PST I’ll be joining a panel to discuss how real world companies can protect and management their brands in a virtual environment.

The event is being hosted by Millions Of Us and the other panelists include:

  • Haver Cole of Metaversatility
  • Joey Seiler of
  • Peter Millionsofus of yes you’ve guessed it, Millions of Us

No brand is an island

No brand is an island. In metaphoric terms in the real world, of course, no brand or organisation can afford to be an island.

In other words, almost by definition, brands in any market place have to have outward personality in tune with their customers and prospects as opposed to having an isolationist character. Why? Because companies want relationships with their customers and to have a relationship, the attitude and tone of a brand combined with the levels of service and touchpoint experiences combine together to form an opinion and perception in the minds of their stakeholders.

So how does this translate into a metaverse environment?

On a literal basis, 73.3% of the real world brands in Second Life decided to start their virtual world existence on a dedicated island as opposed to locating on the mainland or third-party venue. The (updated) brand map clearly shows this preference.

Continue reading →

21 Aug

Exploring Metabrands: Amaretto


Exploring Metabrands: Amaretto. Lux Yao is a metabrand owner. She owns the women’s fashion line Amaretto (SLurl). In this series of exploring Metabrands, K Zero asked Lux some questions to get an understanding of her brand.

1. When was Amaretto created and what prompted you to start?

Amaretto was opened on Easter of this year. I had been flirting with the idea of starting my own store, when I found storefronts for rent in the Barcelona del Oeste sim. Before that, I had looked in other places, but never felt they were right. I rented a shop right away, without a single design in my inventory, and promised to open in 30 days.

Continue reading →

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