Although we’re still many years away from seeing all the potential of the metaverse for businesses unleashed across a sprawling interconnected landscape, many businesses are moving quickly to deliver new experiences to users today. Recently, Netflix entered the fray to promote its new film ‘The Gray Man’ by recreating a landscape from the movie that users can interact with – opening the door to a brand new realm of innovative marketing.
Creating a maze within the metaverse seems an appropriate gesture to such a high-potential and unpredictable new technological landscape, but Netflix’s construct points to a level of immersiveness that has rarely been possible throughout the history of marketing.
To accompany the maze, which was created in the Decentraland metaverse to accompany the launch of The Gray Man, Decentraland tweeted:
“A complete replica of @Netflix’s #TheGrayMan maze is waiting for you in #Decentraland’s metaverse and @RyanGosling needs YOUR help. You’re not going to keep him waiting, are you?!
Get in there and complete the mission!”
Netflix has fully recreated a landscape from the movie, and users will be able to navigate their way through the maze using their knowledge of the plot in order to complete their mission. To accompany them, the film’s original music and a video of Ryan Gosling, the film’s lead, will issue a brief on how to play.
The maze comes as a result of a strategic partnership between Netflix Latin America and Decentraland. Speaking of the arrangement, Martin Shibuya, art director at Decentraland Foundation, noted that the replication of the maze will not only attract users who are interested in the movie itself, but it also “boosts the users that happen to be in Decentraland playing in the maze and gets them to watch the film.”
In the first week of it going live, Decentraland saw 2,000 users engage with the maze. As an added extra, users were able to select a range of free wearables for their avatar themed around The Gray Man’s main characters, which were instantly added to their wallet.
Using Decentraland’s designated cryptocurrency, MANA as an indicator of trading volume, and thus, activity, we can see that interest in the metaverse rapidly accelerated in late 2021. Although Decentraland experienced a harsh correction in the first half of 2022, this is perhaps unsurprising as the initial furore surrounding the emerging technological landscape began to cool.
Today, MANA sits at a price of around $1, representing growth of more than 10,000% since its 2017 arrival on CoinGecko.
Diego Alvarez, senior business developer at metaverse programming and architect studio, The Electric Factory, claimed that the metaverse is “about having fun, about getting in touch with other people here. And that’s why we have this stimulus [trivia game] that makes you feel like you are always doing something.”
Although the number of users interacting with Netflix’s marketing for The Gray Man movie is relatively low in comparison to more dominant forms of marketing, it’s possible that this tactic will become extremely lucrative as the metaverse continues to grow. In terms of leveraging immersive experiences, there’s little precedent throughout the industry.
The Next Frontier of Interconnectivity
Although Netflix has experienced some well-publicized problems with the streaming company’s stock price in 2022, the company has positioned itself ahead of the curve when it comes to potential opportunities in connecting with the metaverse and Web3.
“There are so many opportunities that Web3 is bringing to the entertainment world, especially when it comes to immersive storytelling and audience engagement,” Alvarez added, pointing to the vast potential of what this new landscape could bring to businesses.
At this stage, it’s worth noting that the introduction of games to support movies is nothing new. However, movie-themed video games typically entered the market at a premium price that would often solely interest those already invested in the title, whilst the development of supporting mobile and web apps to engage users would be far more limited in terms of immersive capabilities.
Crucially for Netflix, embracing the interconnectivity of the metaverse represents an opportunity for the company to position itself as the world’s most comprehensive entertainment hub whilst continuing to enhance the experience of its subscribers in new and innovative ways.
Whilst Netflix is one of the biggest names in the world of entertainment to have embraced the metaverse so far, it’s highly likely that countless more endeavors will follow suit as the landscape continues to mature.
Today, metaverse construction agencies like the London-based studio BORN, which specializes in replicating real-world experiences through VR 3D services, are working alongside companies of varying scales to deliver more immersive marketing experiences to audiences around the world.
Marketing in the Metaverse
Netflix isn’t the only entertainment company to engage in the metaverse’s vast potential for marketing.
The MTV Video Music Awards recently opted to create a virtual experience on the Roblox gaming platform. Opening a temporary installation on the platform, MTV has sought to create a fresh award for the best musical performance in the metaverse.
“One of the most exciting things about it is that it brings the VMA experience to people wherever they are in the world,” explained Amy Campbell, chief marketing officer of Paramount Media Networks and MTV Entertainment Studios.
Whilst MTV’s VMA installation seeks to replicate the awards night within Roblox’s platform, the metaverse holds much more marketing potential than the creation of dedicated virtual spaces.
In operating on an avatar-based model, businesses have the potential to decorate their virtual personas with a range of accessories from head to toe. Also known as ‘skins’, it’s likely that avatar decoration will become big business as the metaverse becomes a mainstream space for users to interact.
From offering free t-shirts to themed jewelry, businesses can empower customers to become digitally walking marketing tools throughout the metaverse.
Although Netflix has embarked on a revolutionary new approach to marketing by installing a maze within the metaverse, the road ahead for marketing potential in the metaverse appears to be increasingly straightforward as the task of lead generation reaches new levels.