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15 Aug

Real advertising for Metabrands

Luxury Brands, Metabrands, Strategic Marketing

Real advertising for Metabrands. As someone that used to run an ad agency, I’m particularly interested in the concept of virtual goods advertising. After all, (just like in the real world), companies rarely sell their products without promoting them first.

In Second Life, and undoubtedly other forthcoming worlds with economies, people (will) create Metabrands and merchandising platforms (such as shops) to sell them in. And again, just like in the real world, products span a very wide range of categories.

One sector which is probably the largest in fiscal and transaction terms is fashion. And, a trend observed has been created by the emergence of specialist media publications to cater to specialist interests. A great example of this is Second Style magazine.

For any media planners/buyers out there, the CPM’s for this type of publication are excellent, but more about Second Style in the near future as this post is about advertising.

So, what outlets like this and others like The Avastar have created is a platform for advertising into tightly defined audiences. Below are some examples of recent adverts in these publications. What’s important to point out here is the art direction – it’s an extremely high standard and comfortable at a higher standard than you would see in a lot of other real world publications.

But hang on a second, these adverts are real world. They are magazines/newspapers available in-world but also downloadable as PDFs from their website. The line is starting to blur…..

Read more about Metabrands here. Continue reading →

15 Aug

Phat Cats, phat traffic

Luxury Brands, Metabrands, Music

Phat Cats, phat traffic. Although not the single most important metric when measuring the performance of activities in virtual worlds, traffic/footfall, i.e. visitors, is still an important statistic because it indicates the popularity of a venue.

Recent posts have shown how music is an integral part of the virtual world experience and creating a shift away from listening the music privately to enjoying genre-based music with others. The Phat Cats Romantic Ballroom is a great example of creating a genre-based venue in a virtual world with music (jazz) acting as the catalyst for popularity – Phat Cats is consistently one of the top twenty most frequented venues in Second Life.

So, this place is popular because it facilitates two things – dancing and music and is an example of how virtual worlds are used in a social connection sense, in this content with the ability to slow-dance with your partner. And for those of you that think this is a pretty strange thing to be doing in Second Life, I suggest you click here and see how popular it really is.

Continue reading →

8 Aug

Exploring Metabrands: Second Analytics

Metabrands, Virtual Research

Exploring Metabrands: Second Analytics. When it comes to measuring online activity, I love metrics, and so it seems to do a lot of other people. So much in fact that a new Metabrand is on the scene – Second Analytics. This product has been designed specifically for (primarily) island-owners to track, measure and analysis what visitors are doing on their islands.

Here’s a Q&A with Henrike Bosbach, Marketing Director of Second Analytics .
1. In one sentence, what is Second Analytics?

Second Analytics is the state-of-the-art Second Life analysis tool to analyze all your activities in Second Life. See how people find, navigate and convert on your sim. Second Analytics keeps you updated about any important information regarding your Second Life operations at all times.

2. What are the metrics that it assesses?

Visits (Inner/Outer), Unique Visitors (Inner/Outer), Conversion rates, Average Duration of Stay, New vs. Returning, Second Life Map Overlays, Real Life Geo Location (Country, City), Sim Performance Tracking, Campaign Module, Data Export and many more. Continue reading →

8 Aug

Armani to create virtual store (to join all the others)


Armani to create virtual store (to join all the others). Several reports are circulating that Giorgio Armani will shortly be launching a virtual store in Second Life. The SL launch is being tied into a wider strategy to implement e-commerce solutions across the Armani brand range.

So, an interesting initiative here. One has to assume that Armani will be recreating popular real world clothing and accessories inside a virtual shop. Nothing new here really.

But, what’s interesting is the fact that you can already buy many Armani branded clothes in Second Life already – unofficially. Several SL stores (45 in total) promote Armani products. Here’s a few screenshots.

Here lies the decision (or dilema) for Armani – what to do about the unofficial representation. This post explains the five options facing Armani, Ignore, Remove, Observe, Endorse and Engage.

Coca-Cola, trademarks and brand advocacy

Coca-Cola, trademarks and brand advocacy. A story that has gained much coverage in recent weeks is the case involving Coca-Cola and a well-known Second Life content creator, Vint Falken.


The story relates to a Coke-themed outfit made by Vint. There’s been much discussion about the use of registered trademarks on an unauthorised basis – this being the most prominent to date. The outfit, available to buy in SL, was also promoted on SLexhange (a website for retailer in SL). The outfit was originally removed from this website in light of trademark infringement (apparently a decision made by SLexchange, not Coca-Cola). Then, SLexchange released the following:

‘We have spoken to Coca-Cola and they have released their trademark to SL Merchants. Therefore, any of your items that were disabled on June 7, 2007 have been retrieved.’

Quite a turn-around.

So, is this a sign that real-world brands are simply giving up trying to police their brands in virtual worlds? Not at all. There’s a far more strategic reason for adopting this strategy. The reason behind Coke’s decision was originally explained in the K Zero Luxury Brands case study back in March 2007. Here is an extract from this case study. Continue reading →

2 Jul

Starfruit – crossing the divide


Starfruit – crossing the divide. We’re getting floral today. Starfruit is a Swiss-based company that has recently launched a cross-world service from Second Life into the real world. The company allows residents to send real flowers and chocolates ordered inside SL.

Here’s how it works…

So, an early, good example of v-commerce. The K Zero report, the Seven Point plan for marketing in Second Life highlights the importance of integrating real and virtual world activities – a primary way of creating synergy between activities.

Starfruit is adopting this approach well and is also using dedicated Sl media channels such as The Avastar, to promote the service. Here’s a print ad from Starfruit:

Continue reading →

23 Jun

First examples of integrated marketing for Second Life


First examples of integrated marketing for Second Life. In the 7 Point plan for marketing in Second Life, the importance of cross-promotion is identified and discussed. As real-world companies and brands begin to promote their virtual presences ‘out of world’, we will see more examples of integrated marketing techniques used to drive traffic in.

For Metabrands, this is not a new phenomenon and why should it be? Using combinations of media channels to support a singular campaign objective is a tried and testing marketing tool. An example of Metabrand integrating marketing in shown below – a (virtual) print ad for Casu Capra, a mens clothing store in Second Life, published in the Avastar.

One of the first examples of integrated marketing promoting Second Life is Microsoft Visual Studio. This article provides an assessment and explanation of Visual Studio Island. Microsoft have used online advertising (banner ads) to communicate and promote their presence in Second Life, to good effect, across a range of category specific websites. Here’s the banners.

Continue reading →

A key moment for Metabrands?

A key moment for Metabrands?: Products created purely for virtual world consumption, Metabrands, are a key growth area in Second Life.

This is driven by a soon to emerge trend by real world brands to realise that virtual world revenues will not be created by simply re-creating real world products. Instead, virtual world brand values (and subsequently real world) will be enhanced by creating products specifically designed for metaverse usage.


Media attention and other coverage is currently being directed at Elexor Matador Jewelry, an in-world creator and store owner (here’s the Slurl). She is selling ten limited edition unofficial Cartier Himalia jewelry sets at L$10,000 each (?Ǭ£20 / $38) – signicantly higher than normal pricing levels in Second Life. Similiar products in the store retail at the L$250.

Continue reading →

17 Jun

Exploring Metabrands: Mystitool


Exploring Metabrands: Mystitool. Starting this series of examining Metabrands in Second Life, the first purely virtual brand under the spotlight is called Mystitool.

Interestingly, unlike a lot of the products available to purchase in SL, Mystitool is itself virtual – you don’t really see it. It’s operated via a HUD (a heads up display) placed in the main application window. So, Mystitool is a virtual virtual brand.

Think of Mystitool as your Swiss Army knife for Second Life, or maybe Batman’s Utility Belt. It’s an application that sits quietly in the background during in-world visits that quickly and easily enables a variety of useful tasks (in a useful if you’re in a virtual world type way) to be performed.

Importantly, these tasks are only of use to people when they are in Second Life – a key attribute for Metabrands. So, what does Mystitool do? Here’s some of the features:

  • Teleport history: access to your last 36 teleports
  • Avatar scanner: proximity alerts for residents close-by
  • Favourite locations: quick access to 45 places you like to visit
  • Quick rez: allows instant creation of chairs/tables or any other object
  • URL catcher: stores all URLs mentioned during chat

and many others.

The Mystitool story

Behind every brand is a person, and the person behind Mystitool is a resident called Mystical Cookie. Interestingly she never expected or planned to get involved in SL until she realised she could build and create things, objects, and eventually products in SL. The ability to be creative was the driving motivator. Mystitool came about after buying her first plot of land and learning a few scripting techniques. As she continued to teach herself techniques in SL and having to use commands over and over again, she realised it would be useful to have instant access to scripts and other little programmes to have her life easier. In April 2006, Mysti started to create the application, so to get it to the level of functionality it has today has taken 10 months of continual development. Continue reading →

The rise of the Metabrands


The rise of the Metabrands. Firstly, an explanation of what a Metabrand is.


‘A Metabrand is a brand that is created to exist solely in a virtual space. It lives only on servers, is powered by electricity, experienced only on a computer screen and serves to provide a service, solution or product to avatars living in a metaverse. A Metabrand satisfies a demand that exists purely on a virtual basis.’


Metabrands are the next commercial opportunity for companies made possible by the growing popularity of virtual worlds such as Second Life. This is because economy-based virtual worlds need to supply services to their residents because there is a demand for them. And where there’s a demand you will sooner or later get supply.


But what’s wrong with real world brands becoming virtual brands?


Nothing. As long as the real world brand gets their strategy right. Companies that enter virtual worlds have to plan their initiatives carefully. This means understanding why they exist in the real world. The services they provide, their points of difference, the problems they fix and the experience they deliver. Basically their brand attitude. Successful virtual marketing means being able to leverage their real world attributes further using the opportunities and capabilities of a metaverse. If companies can make their services better/easier in a virtual world or enhance their real world activities by augmenting virtual worlds into the real, then they can have meaningful and (eventually) profitable Metabrands. Continue reading →

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