This week Acura opened a virtual showroom on the 3D platform Decentraland to promote the 2023 Acura Integra and raise brand awareness among new customers using a multi-tiered NFT strategy. There is also an opportunity for customers to reserve one of the new automobiles, backed by exclusive NFT perks and experiences.
“We’re looking at this as a way that digital is supporting our marketing efforts, where we want to attract the next generation of premium buyers,” said Meliza Humphrey, senior manager of Acura marketing. “In the process of learning from other campaigns, we are completely captivating a digital hub in the metaverse.”
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Why we care. According to Acura, the goal for their metaverse presence is brand awareness. They are concurrently running an integrated March Madness campaign with digital media that is tactical. Because hubs like Decentraland are literally selling space in their virtual world to brands and users, this is much more like a land grab for first movers who want to plant their flag in the ground.
Decentraland also provides a location for customers to show off their newly-acquired NFTs, aligning Acura’s strategy with a branded virtual space and an NFT drop.
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A fashionable place for VR. The debut of the Acura Showroom on Decentraland is timed with a metaverse Fashion Week on Decentraland in the hub’s Fashion District. This means there is more foot traffic in these parts by fashion-minded avatars.
The Acura Showroom is located next to a flashy mansion put up by high-end lipstick brand Valde Beauty, replete with large signage in the parlor and a QR code that takes visitors to the VALDE Divine NFT collection.
“With Fashion Week approaching, we will be hosting over 60 new and established brands, opening the doors to many more,” said Sam Hamilton, Decentraland’s creative director. “Live music, conferences, and art galleries are among the activities, while runway shows, pop-up stores, and afterparties are newly featured during Fashion Week.”
With around 562,000 monthly active users, other brands that have launched on Decentraland include Samsung, Nike, Coca-Cola and Domino’s.
VR experience and NFT integration. The Acura showroom puts the new Integra on a pedestal, where you can walk right up and see the model for yourself in third-person or first-person mode. One of the innovations of the experience is that certain club members can leave their personal mark on the space.
“In our new Acura digital showroom, fans immerse themselves in this virtual room that’s unlike anything else,” said Humphrey. “One of the things we wanted to do is to allow people who claim NFTs to put it up in this gallery.”
This is where the multi-tiered NFT promotion comes in. The first 500 customers who reserve a 2023 Integra will receive a limited-edition NFT. When the car is delivered, that NFT gets upgraded into a unique design also created by the same 3D artist, Andreas Wannerstedt.
And in keeping with the Fashion Week theme, Decentraland users can also acquire wearables – digital clothing for avatars – that are Acura-themed and show support for the brand.
“We saw that Andreas and his work understand art in motion, and for a vehicle like the Integra, his textures and motion speak to the target,” said Humphrey.
Who’s showing up to the showroom? Since December 2021. Decentraland has averaged 50,000 daily users along with its growing number of monthly actives.
“These figures demonstrate the visible expansion of virtual worlds in blockchain, as well as its creative economy,” said Hamilton. “They also demonstrate a high level of consumer interest in the Decentraland (DCL) Marketplace, as well as the economy establishing itself in the sector of wearables and digital fashion. Brands are turning to DCL to engage with their customers since it has shown to be an effective way of engaging on a personal level and truly understanding a customer’s requirements and desires.”
He added, “Decentraland is more than a game, it is ultimately a virtual world created by the community and its members. Users will play, explore, and interact with games, activations, and other members of the community. You can also buy land and use it to create your own settings, marketplaces, and applications. In some ways, users will do anything and everything they already do, as well as things they can’t accomplish in the real world.”
What’s next? As Acura shows with the NFT component to their promotion, these technologies can be upgraded as metaverse activations mature. As marketers and analysts across the industry have been saying, this is all still “early stages.”
But what is Acura going to do next in the metaverse?“
“We’re having those discussions and haven’t made any concrete plans,” said Humphrey. “We know there are possibilities because there are so many things that can be updated and enhanced. Those are the discussions we’re continuing to have.”
About The Author
Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.