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Summary:

The biggest business news from the Second Life Community Convention here in San Francisco this weekend comes in the form of two reputed brands entering the 3D online world as immersive, interactive objects. First out the gate was an announcement from UK branding agency Rivers Run […]

The biggest business news from the Second Life Community Convention here in San Francisco this weekend comes in the form of two reputed brands entering the 3D online world as immersive, interactive objects.

First out the gate was an announcement from UK branding agency Rivers Run Red that they’d be creating a permanent presence for Adidas, with more than a couple dozen shoe models for your avatar to wear. (More details here. )

Not to be outdone, new metaverse developer Millions of Us (a sponsor of my SL blog, so take with a rock of sodium) announced they had an agreement with Toyota to offer an official, virtual edition of the Scion xB to Second Life residents.

For good measure, the Millions staff (all wearing blue coveralls, like James Bond villian henchmen) made that announcement in the parking lot of a bitterly cold Fort Mason parking lot, tearing off in a real Scion, and when it rounded a curve, horn honking, released numerous copies into Second Life. (Fully-appointed and drivable around the 3D world, of course.)


How effective this form of brand promotion actually is remains to be seen, but during a panel discussion on RL-to-SL business at SLCC, the CEOs of both companies gave the reasoning behind their campaigns.

For Millions’ Reuben Steiger, Second Life offers companies a venue to engage “the cultural tastemakers”, the relatively small but technologically savvy early adopters that comprise much of SL’s 230,000 (+_ subscriber base, while for Rivers’ Justin Bovington, the goal is to “give consumers an opportunity to engage with a brand.”

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  1. I quote:

    “For Millions’ Reuben Steiger, Second Life offers companies a venue to engage “the cultural tastemakers”, the relatively small but technologically savvy early adopters that comprise much of SL’s 230,000″

    If Second Life residents are “cultural tastemakers” we as a society are doomed. I wonder if these companies that Rivers and Millions are conning into SL are aware of what actually goes on there? Hmm, maybe an email campaign of enlightenment is in order.

  2. I dont get SecondLife’s concept completely. I have been to the site couple of times to figure what is going on, and it is so boaring to me.

    Why do people buy/sell land and waste real dollars as if it is the only place? My question is what happens when a new website shows up like “VirtualLife” which does exact similar stuff.Are you going to buy land again?

    This is crazy and nonsense in my opinion.No offense but just my opinion.

  3. Although I see the point of the above 2 comments, to me the key take-away here is that affinity communities are becoming a key advertising channel.

    Ok… maybe second life may not be the most enlightened community out there, but companies have to start somewhere. Most affinity communities are yet to reach sufficient scale. Think of the enormous opportunities that are being created if communities around “serious” interests such as parenting, hobbies, illness, etc become big. In my opinion, that will be the advertising channel of the future.

  4. The concept of land in SL is really no different than buying server space and bandwidth for a website, in essence it is the same thing. You buy land and then you can put anything you want on it, just as in a website, but with a few differences.

    First if your in a mature grid you can serve up porn, sell items to enable you to create a better virtual sex experience, etc., which is really the second biggest draw to Second Life outside of chat. And Linden Labs has a very hands off approach to this which is bad, just try a Google search for “age play second life”, Second Life has no problem with someone pretending to be a child, building a child like avatar, and having sex with someone else. In their minds if two consenting adults want to do that, hey go for it. Now, do you view that as ok? Especially given that the age verification system for SL is almost nonexsistent, who is to say that those two people are indeed adults, and lets not gloss over the fact that they are creating virtual pedophiles. Porn I have no problem with, this I do.

    Secondly if you buy server space from a decent provider you can expect a smooth experience, with Second Life expect lag, lots of it, unless you buy space on a new sim, which will soon fill up and lag like the rest of the game, don’t expect to “server” up to alot of people, get more than 10 people together and expect your framerate to drop to a crawl, expect crashes, alot, and weekly downtimes lately.

    Second Life was a great first shot at building a graphical MUSH/MOO/MUCK, its old, bloated and ready to be put out to pasture by a young upstart, its just a matter of time before that happens or Linden Labs slack child porn rules shut it down.

  5. When the telephone was invented, people worried that people wouldn’t visit each other (which was a huge deal for many people).

    When the car was invented, no one understood why someone would prefer it over a trusty horse.

    When the early PC’s were being built in tiny shops and garages and sold in niche magazines/reported in Popular Mechanix, people laughed and said “Why would anyone ever want or need a personal computer”.

    Second Life is a technology reminiscent of those other technologies. It’s not a game unless you make it a game. It’s a different kind of communication medium. Moreover, it offers the first real opportunity to see what a people’s PLM would look like; in other word’s, people creating things that are then used… not just inside SL, but as real products (yes, it can be done now).

    This is the reason people like Mitch Kapor, Pierre Omidyar, Eric Rice, and many others are excited.

    No, it’s not especially pretty. And no, it doesn’t offer any more entertainment value than a telephone. But it does offer amazing opportunity. Just the same way Apple’s wood computer did back when people laughed at the idea of actually owning a computer.

  6. It can be any game but the reality is most gamers (even in other games) sit down and chit chat about love, porn and adultery stuff, 2ndlife is no exception.

    we should be more focussed on our children and monitor what they are doing online rather then blaming a game company.

    2ndlife is a revolution when it comes to game communication, it may not become as popular as myspace or youtube but it will lay the foundation for something big in future.

    It also has yielded a growth of cottage industry around it feeding many thousand bellies and they are not essentially selling only porn through it.

  7. any company with a reasonable view of future marketing trends will embrace the digitization of every facet of the companies growth

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