Lab Weekly - 04/08/2022
The state of in-game ads, and its metaverse-oriented future; Plus, news analysis and stats roundup
Welcome to another edition of Lab Weekly! This week, we bring you an original recap of the inaugural IAB PlayFront conference, where the future of in-game advertising was in hot discussion, as well as an Outlook POV from our marvelous APAC team! In the news section, we dig into two big “brands in the metaverse” stories, as well as some shoppable lens and drone delivery initiatives that will take ecommerce to the sky and beyond! Let’s dig in.
This week, our senior manager of partnerships Ryan Miller attended the inaugural IAB PlayFront conference, and witnessed the state of in-game advertising in person. Here's his recap on the key trends in video game ads & where the space is heading, including shifting audience segments and gaming ads in the metaverse.
Like the crises of before, COVID has been bruising for the APAC economy, and whilst much uncertainty remains, the region has once again shown resilience in the face of this extraordinary shock. Looking at the years of entropy that lie ahead, our brilliant APAC team, led by Sharon Soh, offers their analysis on how the four key trends we laid out in our Outlook 2022 report will play out in the region, the windows of opportunities they are set to open, and the incoming challenges they bring.
In case you missed it…
The metaverse discourse is being muddled by crypto startups and getting lost amid web3 hype, but innovation-forward brands should not lose sight on why it truly matters
Why Netflix is spending millions of dollars each year campaigning for Oscars, what Hollywood’s anti-Netflix bias tells us about the state of the movie industry, and how Apple snatched the top prize first despite a late entry into the streaming wars
From in-game experiences to connected communities, brands should carefully weigh the pros and cons of each emerging option as they prepare to enter the metaverse.
Chipotle Hosts Roblox Event That Rewards Players With Free Burritos [The Street]
Chipotle, which built a virtual restaurant on Roblox for a Halloween promotion last year, opened a virtual restaurant in Roblox on April 7, in celebration of National Burrito Day. In a virtual Chipotle that mimics the company’s original location in Denver, the first 100,000 visitors who successfully roll a virtual burrito in a branded game will earn “Burrito Bucks” that can be redeemed for real food at Chipotle restaurants. As part of the campaign, Chipotle loyalty program members can trade in reward points for Roblox gift cards on Chipotle’s app or website. In addition, the surrounding around the virtual restaurants in Roblox was also remodeled after the neighborhood in which the chain’s first restaurant was established.
This activation came a week after Wendy’s opened its own virtual restaurant in Meta's Horizon Worlds, joining the growing number of brands aiming to engage with Gen Z consumers through creative gameplay experiences on MMO games like Fortnite and Roblox. Although most of the virtual experiences available today tend to fall short of unlocking the full potential of the metaverse, which will require interoperability across immersive platforms, this Chipotle activation at least gives Roblox players some solid incentives to visit the virtual restaurants and build customer loyalty, in a way that feels native and authentic to the platform itself.
Epic And Lego Partner To Build A Metaverse For Kids [The Verge]
In other metaverse news, Epic Games and Lego partner to “shape the future of the metaverse” by building a digital experience where children can play safely online. Details are scarce at the moment, but given Epic's Unreal Engine and game development experience, it seems safe to assume that this partnership will open the doors for Lego to create its own sandbox game within Fortnite, or a Lego-branded Party Royale island. By bringing Lego on board, it seems that the Fortnite maker is ramping up on its metaverse ambitions and, perhaps, aiming to beat its main competitors — Minecraft (already noted for its Lego-like character and world design) and Roblox (which allows players to created their own mini-games using the building blocks within the game) — at their own games.
As the buzz around the metaverse concept continues to intensify, it also received an increased level of scrutiny around security and ethical issues. For example, early harassment cases in Meta’s Horizon Worlds have led the company to implement a “personal boundary” feature to deter such incidents. As any marketer would know, anything involving kids would rightfully receive a lot of regulatory scrutiny and compliance requirements. Lego is a toy brand that kids and families have a lot of trust in, and if it can work with Epic to create a trust-worthy virtual space, it would set a great precedent for other children-oriented brands looking to dip their toes into the metaverse.
Related:‘RealityScan’ is a new app from Epic Games that uses the iPhone camera to create 3D models [9to5Mac]; Nike built a kids' world in the metaverse for Air Max Day [AdAge]; Adidas Originals launches the world's first personality-based AI-generated avatar creation platform [Marketing Dive]
Walmart Preps Mealtime Inspiration With Shoppable Snapchat Lens [Marketing Dive]
Building upon an existing shoppable content partnership between Walmart and Meredith-owned Allrecipes site, as well as the visual search feature that Allrecipes launched on Snapchat in November, Walmart is bringing together the two elements together to upgrade the AllRecipes Lens to bridge the gap between visual search and purchase. A new Walmart-branded "Snap Scan & Shop" lens now allows users to scan food items at hand and receive a list of ten recipes from Allrecipes that include those items. All ingredients are shoppable, so users can simply click to buy the additional ingredients needed from Walmart if they so choose.
Walmart has been leaning into shoppable food content to promote its grocery business. The retail giant has placed greater emphasis on food-related content to reach consumers who have more time to cook while working from home. Reportedly, in a test it ran last year with interactive video startup Eko, the customized content drove click-through rates several times higher than its benchmark levels. This new Snapchat lens should help further engage with younger consumers, especially Gen Z, who is, according to a recent YPulse study, 12% less likely to consume food-related online content.
Related: Allrecipes launches on Snapchat's Scan feature [AdWeek]; Walmart unveils universal search and checkout in app [RetailWit]; Snapchat's latest lens helps you learn the American Sign Language alphabet [Engadget]
Walgreens Begin Drone Delivery In Dallas Suburbs With Alphabet’s Wing [WSJ]
Wing, Alphabet’s drone delivery subsidiary, is taking to the sky in the Dallas suburbs to deliver over-the-counter medicines and household essentials from Walgreens. This rollout marks Wing’s largest U.S. rollout and its first drone initiative operated by a customer (in this case, Walgreens), but drone pilots from Wing will oversee the operation remotely. Drone companies increasingly have been cleared to expand their operations in the U.S. as technology underpinning drone delivery improves. And it makes sense that medicines are among the first products to be tested for drone delivery, given that they are lightweight and often of high urgency. It will be interesting to see what other high-customer utility items will be prioritized for drone delivery in the months to come, and how that shifts the last-mile delivery landscape.
Axios and Momentive, the makers of Survey Monkey, conducted an online poll on March 23 to 25 among a national sample of 2,553 adults about work and lifestyle trends. Axios reported some interesting findings:
Everyone is "meh" on the metaverse: 60% of respondents of all ages weren't familiar with the term, which refers to a not-quite-ready-for-prime-time digital 3D world.
Not everyone has bitcoin FOMO: 34% say it's too risky to invest in, and/or the currency is susceptible to fraud.
Most people are "over" the traditional 9-to-5 office: 66% of adults say that both office and remote work will coexist.
Young people are leading the charge toward micro-mobility: 82% of 18- to 24-year-olds support allowing electric scooters, e-bikes and e-skateboards in public places.
If you find our insights valuable and would like to have a deeper conversation on technology and media innovations, or need to sound smarter in a client meeting or a pitch, please feel free to reach out to our Group Director Josh Mallalieu!
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