Immersive technology, persistent virtual worlds and Web 3.0. These three elements, believe Sea Monster chief executive Glen Gillis, define the essence of the Metaverse, an integrated network of 3D virtual worlds.
Speaking at the Red & Yellow Creative School of Business’ recent Metaverse summit, Gillis said the Metaverse is an opportunity for immersive technology to enable more purpose-led human experiences.
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These experiences were explored across the themes of education, creativity and design at the summit held in Cape Town, South Africa. Gillis and seven other speakers shared their views on how this “brave new world” could impact advertising and education, in particular.
The future of marketing
According to Gillis there are four considerations that brands should have if they want to tackle forward-thinking opportunities. These include the rise of interactivity, the importance of games, the importance of stories, and identifying what’s real and what’s not. Focusing on these elements allows brands to drive authentic human experiences.
“The rise of interactivity over the last 50 years, has given shape and structure to games, which is really important. Likewise, stories also play a big factor as they shape our existence and how we interact with each other and brands,” added Gillis.
He underlined that brand should be playing and experimenting in this space. “The revolution is happening right in front of us, and it has to do with the power of web experiences. If brands are not thinking about progressive web apps, then they are going to miss the first step on the road to what the Metaverse will be about.”
Creativity in the Metaverse
“Bravery is a two-way street,” explained Alex Goldberg, creative director at Ogilvy whose team led created one of the first South African brand campaigns to demonstrate the power of the Metaverse, including an NFT collection.
He aptly opened his presentation with the following statement: “What we do is crazy. We make stuff up in our heads, then we expect a client to spend millions on the things we made up in the hope it will tackle their business challenges.”
It is important that before brands and businesses start playing in this space, they do their research and explore the Metaverse, urged Goldberg. By just jumping on the bandwagon without the proper research, brands will open themselves up to criticism from the gaming community and the risk of very nifty scammers taking advantage of the currently unregulated space.
Ethics in the Metaverse
A further key theme at the summit was the impact of the Metaverse on physical and mental wellbeing. Metalabs Africa duo Tyrone Rubin and Brendan Louw stressed the importance of smart contracts, which allow the exchange of currency and the delivery of services, as well as access to unlockable content and other data exchanges.
“All the NFTs that we have been talking about land up being programmed onto a smart contract and stored on a blockchain-based platform,” explained Louw.
“Kenya and Nigeria have banned cryptocurrency and if you are trading in those countries, you can’t go to the bank and exchange it for currency. In South Africa, we are regulating it better. Our banks are giving us the option to at least practice safely and allow us to exchange from cryptocurrency to fiat and vice versa.”
It remained important to keep looking at the bigger picture, said Elizabeth Lee Ming, head of marketing at Red & Yellow and summit host.
“A new world is being built piece by piece, pixel by pixel, and it is being made into whatever the creators want it to be. For those who want to be a part of this, I remind them to remember the use and the consumer.
“You are not just creating it for yourself. You want to take people from point A to point B; you want them to engage in the project and you need to think what’s the best way to do that.”