One of the best things about working in advertising is that it is always changing and evolving. There is always something new, a different approach to take and, if you’re lucky enough, a great idea that no one else has thought of.
The mediums we work in are also always evolving: we’ve gone from print to radio, onto TV and then online advertising with the first banner ad appearing in 1994. Mobile advertising came next and now we have highly-targeted personalised campaigns that no longer look like traditional adverts because the less it looks like one the more people will engage with it.
And now (potentially), we are about to see the biggest evolution of all and one that raises a very important question: how does advertising work in the metaverse?
However, before trying to answer that question, let's try and answer another: what is the metaverse? There seems to be a few thoughts on this but the way I see it the metaverse is a blank digital canvas where we can create, socialise, learn, work together, consume media and interact with brands that live with each other in one environment which blurs the lines between the virtual world and the real one.
When you stop and think about this you realise that the possibilities and creative opportunities are endless. We can take all the best knowledge, learning, tactics and mediums of the last hundred years of advertising and apply them all to the metaverse to create something truly new. It could become the quintessential playground for creativity.
Of course, with this level of creative freedom we will need to have some rules, otherwise these wonderful new worlds will become polluted with noise, billboards and virtual salespeople on every virtual corner handing out virtual flyers. If we take this route, ultimately, we will devalue the product and our customers won’t enter this space.
Maybe the best way to advertise in the metaverse therefore is not to advertise at all, or at least in the traditional sense. Rather than creating adverts and campaigns we should look to build brand experiences that are a seamless part of this experience rather than intruding on them.
To do this we will need to carefully position each brand and be creative with this positioning. At the heart of everything should be the user; tailoring the environment to the reason that they are there.
By creating brand experiences that are both immersive and interactive, by creating ‘ads’ or messaging that are engaging but fit within the context of the experience, we will be able to take contextual advertising to the next level.
So, maybe going forwards we should stop thinking about traditional adverts or campaigns; radio and TV spots, and start considering how to build worlds.
No matter what changes are ahead or ultimately how this will look, one thing is for sure: when it comes to advertising, a great idea is still going to be key.