Monday, December 5, 2022

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    Experts at Advertising Week discuss the metaverse: ‘your next superpower’

    Many agencies understand that the metaverse is going to be a big deal — but fewer understand how and where they’ll fit into this emerging virtual ecosystem. At the first day of Advertising Week 2022, here are what experts had to say about how the how the metaverse will reshape the agency-brand relationship.

    What exactly is the metaverse? How will it change the basic rules of advertising? Will agencies have a say in how this new landscape is constructed? 

    These are just a few examples of the many questions that have recently been swirling through the minds of many agency executives, as new terms like web3 and the metaverse have cropped up in more and more headlines. 

    Today, the opening day of Advertising Week 2022, three metaverse experts — Meta’s Bianca Bradford, DDB’s Christine Lane, and VMLY&R’s Luke Hurd — sat down together onstage to explore how the metaverse (as well as artificial intelligence, another radically transformative emergent technology) are transforming the dynamic between agencies and their clients. 

    Here are some of the noteworthy themes that were discussed:

    Don’t be afraid to dream big

    The metaverse opens up so many new possibilities, and agencies that are looking to enter this burgeoning space should remember that they need not limit themselves to traditional rules — or even to the laws of physics. ““[The metaverse] is a vast new canvas for us to paint on,” Bradford said. “This is allowing for even more creativity in many more fashions that the mind can’t even imagine at this point.” 

    And given the vast new possibilities that this virtual realm affords, it would be a waste for brands to simply try to recreate models and experiences that already exist in the physical world. “There’s so much potential … but there’s also the danger that we’re just trying to imitate real life in the digital world,” Lane said. 

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    Web3 isn’t just about technology — it’s about community

    Monday’s discussion emphasized the power of blockchain-based technologies to restructure the power dynamics that have prevailed during the web1 and web2 eras, expanding access to information for (theoretically) everyone. This, the speakers agreed, was a central component of web3 that agencies and brands need to understand, if they’re to be successful in the new ecosystem. Lane, for example, called Web3 “the democratization of ownership.”

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    The metaverse will build on existing technologies

    Hurd said that he’s particularly excited for the moment in which the metaverse — and its associated technologies, such as augmented reality (AR) — become ubiquitous, as smartphones have become over the past several years. He also believes that the next wave of transformative technology, rather than existing separately from the devices that most of us carry around all day in our pockets, will be an extension of that technology; “your next superpower.”

    For more, sign up for The Drum’s Inside the Metaverse weekly newsletter here.

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