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Heineken’s fun play with the metaverse

Heineken metaverse activation

By Tom Ffiske
VR/AR and metaverse analysis every Wednesday and Sunday // 20 March 2022 

Day nine of Covid. Yup, still positive. I am so incredibly bored.

Supported by:

Black Public Media

Heineken’s cold pint raised to the metaverse 

The metaverse has been explored in the mainstream media for some time, with a tide of companies having a go capitalising on the hot trend. The most egregious I have seen is a cannabis company that explored the Ukraine crisis and the business potential of the metaverse across two paragraphs. The misled approach to marketing makes companies look like ambulance chasers, puffing fumes as they try to get a good hit. 

The wider context is why I am a big fan of Heineken’s approach when they profiled their Silver range, treating it all as a complete joke. The self-awareness that threaded through their virtual brewery, with an array of useless mini-games around tasting a nonexistent beer. The experience itself was strange; as I said to BBC News, it was intentionally bizarre. Heineken corroborated on it as well: 

  • “We know that the metaverse brings people together in a light-hearted and immersive way that is really exciting – but it’s just not the best place to taste a new beer, said Bram Westenbrink, Global Head Heineken Brand. Our new virtual beer… is an ironic joke. It is a self-aware idea that pokes fun at us and many other brands that are jumping into the metaverse with products that are best enjoyed in the real world.”

I hope this is a sign that marketing campaigns will start to focus. Fewer cannabis companies jumping on a trend, or fashion labels shilling their virtual items for severe mark-ups. Just an authentic vision of spatial computing, and a view of the future that is compatible with their goods and services. If I were to digest it into quick bites of advice: 

  • Be authentic.
  • Align it with your core values. 
  • Don’t try to mislead your audience. 

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The BPMplus Initiative aims to increase the participation of Black filmmakers and artists working in XR, AI, 3D, and other forms of emerging-tech storytelling. 

BPMplus programs include: Immersive Day at PitchBlack 2022, the MIT & Black Public Media Visiting Artists Program, the Nonso Christian Ugbode Fellowship, XR mixers and classes, BPMplus Fellowships, and Pop-up XR Theaters.

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Q&A: Follow your intuition

Guido Groet, Chief Strategy Officer at Luxexcel

What is your background?
I got started in marketing in Los Angeles and San Francisco during the dotcom boom, working with eBay and Google on the agency side. Since then I’ve worked with major software and product developers for both the consumer and B2B markets on a global scale. For me, the heart of marketing has always been strategic messaging and branding—hearing ten messages and knowing which one resonates. Lumus has an exciting message: Lumus is an AR optics company that has developed the most important display technology the world has ever seen. We are solving not only an optics challenge but also a mechanics and fashion challenge. Building the Lumus brand has meant helping an innovative company become an industry leader.

What are you working on, and what’s a key learning that you’ve had from it? 
The AR hardware space is heating up now after many years. Now the Tier 1 companies are serious about shipping products over the next two to five years. These days I’m immersed in bringing our recent 2D pupil expansion waveguide displays into the spotlight. We always had the best performing tech, but the competition had a leg up on us with the aesthetic. Since introducing our 2D waveguides, we have been able to significantly shrink the footprint of our projection module, allowing for a host of competitively natural-looking products. I’ve also learned a ton about how we manufacture and focused on our supply chain including SCHOTT in Germany and Quanta Computer in Taiwan to show our prices are consumer-friendly.

I think it’s amazing that a simple, ancient tool like the mirror is the key to the world’s most advanced AR display. I’ve learned all about this incredible technology, and how significant it is to the future of the metaverse or Web 3.0. My mission is making sure the entire AR world understands that, too.

If you had to give one piece of advice, what would you give? 
I think we all agree that the metaverse is coming, and it will have a huge impact on everyday life. So my advice would be to keep your eye on augmented reality. AR is the only way to experience the metaverse AND engage with the real world simultaneously. At the same time, as with any new technology, users will need to create boundaries and try to limit their usage so it doesn’t come at the expense of daily life, but enhances it.

If you want to know more about David Goldman then click here to find out more.  

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Curated by Tom Ffiske every Wednesday and Sunday, and enjoyed by over 5,000 professionals.

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Meditative with the VIVE Flow. Photo credit: Tom Ffiske

Tom Ffiske

Editor, Immersive Wire

Tom Ffiske is the Editor of the Immersive Wire, a twice-weekly newsletter on the immersive industry.