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By Josh Beatty, Founder, ARound 

Early reactions to Miller Lite’s “Meta Lite Bar” experience – where it will offer virtual beer, games, and a chance to view what would have been its Big Game spot –prove there’s work needed to convince the masses that the Metaverse matters. Steve Colbert ripped into the idea: “Man, I love commercials, but I wish I had to work harder to access them while my avatar drinks this imaginary can of carbonated disappointment.” 

While some of his riff is just late-night chum, there are insights about how brands should approach the Metaverse, mixed-reality, and emerging tech that consumers are just beginning to identify and understand. Colbert’s points are top of mind for everyone as big ideas for virtual storefronts, fully immersive VR experiences, and digital avatar ecosystems fill the news. 

Two parts of Colbert’s criticism for brands to unravel: 

  1. “Work harder to access” – This is going to be a big barrier to early adoption of Metaverse tech. If consumers don’t find it easy to access brand experiences, they won’t engage. While conditioned consumer behavior is the hardest thing in the world to change (when did you last download an app for something?), the only thing stronger than conditioned behavior is a change to one’s environment. Experiments in AR and mixed-reality, especially powered by mobile, can disrupt and captivate consumers in a memorable and meaningful way. Shared environments with low barriers to access will drive value in this space.
  2. “While my avatar drinks this imaginary can of carbonated disappointment.” The Metaverse is a shared experience, but virtual reality can be isolating. AR and other tech that allows for shared social experiences will connect us to people and places in exciting and fun ways. While the idea of drinking a digital beer may leave people scratching their heads, if the metaverse dive bar that Miller Lite unveils during the Big Game includes a compelling array of shared content and experiences, the fun consumers are having together in this space will eclipse their initial confusion at the premise. 

Many brands will try their hands at Metaversal tech in the coming months. Marketers should learn from early consumer/social reactions to experiments underway at the Big Game and proactively work to solve some of the barriers of consumer adoption in this exciting new space.  

 

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