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What Lady Gaga should have done….

Lot’s of newsflow in the last couple of days about Lady Gaga gaining an injunction against Mind Candy, owners of Moshi Monsters.

Moshi developed a character called Lady Goo Goo and placed songs onto YouTube, with plans to release a song on iTunes via their new music division Moshi Music. Here’s the news report.

Unofficial re-creations of brands inside virtual worlds are nothing new. Back in 2008 we identified this trend – primarily inside Second Life with residents (as opposed to Linden Lab) creating and in a lot of cases actually selling these virtual goods. Furthermore, the concept of users re-creating music videos as machinima is another interesting topic.

This case is slightly different because it’s the virtual world company itself creating the unofficial brand as opposed to the users – but it seems the Moshi users really love the character.

In response to the trend of unofficial brands and virtual goods, we developed the ‘5 Rules of Virtual Brand Management’ back in 2008. It’s a set of principles that brand owners should consider before taking action. Perhaps Lady Gaga should have read this first. The full report can be ordered here and shown below is a quick summary presentation.

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KT&T sector: Mixing the real and virtual worlds for new revenue streams

For a long time we’ve advocated the strategy of linking on and offline play and activities in the virtual worlds sector – a theme examined in our 2010 report.  And, with the high number of KT&T worlds in the sector coupled with the pressure to improve conversion rates and increase ARPPU’s, virtual world owners are increasingly seeking ways to drive new revenues.

One of these strategies is taking the VW brand ‘out of world’, typically with re-creations of virtual goods originally available virtually. Inversely, there’s also a growing trend to push users in-world, originating with a real world purchase. Of course, this is not a new strategy as both Webkinz and Neopets have offline brand retail experiences, but it’s definitely a growing trend in the sector.

Here’s a look at some examples:

Gaia Online: One of the pioneers of linking virtual and real world ‘products’ was Gaia, with their online store. Whereas both Neopets and Webkinz created offline retail catered for younger users, Gaia saw a merchandising opportunity to tap into their slightly older target market of mid to late teens. Users are able to purchase clothing (mainly t-shirts), accessories(hats, charms and hair accessories), and other items related to their world including plush toys. Some of the Gaia products are based on virtual goods available in-world – the first example of ‘real virtual goods?

Shidonni: “….One-of-a-Kind line of custom plush dolls. In doing so, the company has taken its virtual world’s original play experience — which animates a user’s 2D drawing, morphing it via the Shidonni software into an animated on-screen creature — one giant step further. The new line offers users the option to have their online creatures manufactured into a look-alike plush doll.” Continue reading →

The FT says: Virtual goods networks could rival ads

Nice little article from the FT about how virtual goods revenues could offset online advertising. My view is that it isn’t about offsettingrevenuesin turbulent times – virtual goods will in time be a dominant income stream for brands and companies regardless of the economic situation. A view shared I’m sure by Viximo, referenced in the article.

Related: The rise of the Metabrands


If online advertising is under pressure, perhaps branding virtual goods can help make up a greater proportion of revenues….

Virtual goods are seen as having more impact than ads on Millennials – the 13-26 age group who largely populate social networking sites and will respond more to receiving Godiva chocolates or Nike Air shoes, even if they are not the real thing.

Metabrand for auction on eBay

I’ve talked before about Phat Cats, the highly popular Jazz club in Second Life. It’s popularity highlights the role of music and socialising in virtual worlds as well as the importance and relevance of genre-based locations.

Well, Phat Cats is being put up for sale on Oct 1 on eBay by ownersJody Huet, Amethyst Jetaime, and Barbarella Noel. This will be very interesting to watch, in terms of putting a real world value on a metabrand. The last major eBay sale of a SL business/venue was Virtual Amsterdam and went for $50,000.

We have reached many of the professional and personal goals we held going into ownership, and we are moving to focus our attention on other projects. Phat Cats has always been a magical place, where Second Life residents can find a luxurious escape from the mundane pressures of daily life. The clubs hosts, hostesses, and managers work around the clock to create a warm and inviting environment where anyone can feel welcome. We cant wait to see that environment continue, even as ownership of the club changes hands.

Like most metabrands in SL, Phat Cats has a dedicated website, here.

Phat Cat’s Jazz Club Overview

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: auction life)

Sims 2 Ikea video

Some background info on this campaign here.

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H&M brings a metabrand to life

Fashion retail company H&M has brought virtual clothing in the real-world via a campaign deployed into The Sims 2. This metabrand move was prompted by The Sims 2 H&M Fashion Runway competition conducted over the summer of 2007.

The winner of the competition had their virtual clothing manufactured into a real-life version – congratulations toBeau Fornillos, a 21-year-old American interior design student (read more here).

Consider this UGC on steriods and a sure-fire early sign of a massive growth area in virtual worlds and online activity in general.

Where do we go from here? Maybe eventually to a place where designers like this actual see royalties or commissions made from real-life sales.

All you need now is some nice Ikea furniture.

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Virtual Goods in Virtual Worlds with Virtual Greats

The virtual goods sector is primed for major growth due to the increased attention given by real world brands and of course the uplift in virtual world populations. – recent estimates value the virtual goods sector at $1.5bn. The Luxury Brands case study explains the virtual goods opportunity in this sector.

Millions Of Us released news today about Virtual Greats – their commercial vehicle to gain market share in the virtual goods space.

From the press release:

Continue reading →

Campaign results for L’Oreal Paris phase one

Several weeks ago we finished phase one of the L’Oreal Paris campaign in SL. Today as part of my presentation at the vBusiness Expo I gave a background to this campaign as well as released the campaign data. The relevant metrics and data are in this post. A background to the strategy of this campaign is here.

In terms of overall takeaways (we gave the make-up looks/skins away for free, so the term ‘sale’ doesn’t apply) during the three months of the campaign over 34,000 were taken by residents.

Again, to explain the terminology, we’re using takeaways as opposed to giveaways because all transactions were initiated by residents – the L’Oreal Paris products were stocked in the stores of existing SL retailers and we relied on the visitors to these stores and locations to activate their own call to action – clicking on a display board and receiving the product package.

This is different to say items being distributed by teams of people in SL. The graph to the left shows cumulative transactions on a weekly basis for the campaign.

As data was able to be collected in real-time, during the first month we tracked transactions daily. After month one we switched to a weekly assessment. The graph shown right has these weekly figures.

On average, 2428 products were taken each week. It’s of use to point out here that we started with just two of the four skins and in week four were up and running in all venues with all products.

This coincided with the launch into the Greenies Kitchen and therefore the best performing week (four) from the campaign with over 7,000 transactions across our venues. Naturally transactions slowed around the Christmas break but ramped up again in week 10, when our Second Style advertising was activated. Continue reading →

Stardoll get into ‘real’ worlds

In a move similar to one already seen from Gaia, Stardoll (via a partnership with Spreadshirt) now lets users take designs created virtually and get them printed onto real t-shirts.

An interesting and clever move because virtual worlds make content creation easy – in some cases easier than in the real world. VW News reports:

What the deal represents is that when you look at Stardoll and think about the environment that we have kids playing in, we’re playing with garments and clothes,” Matt Palmer, Stardoll Executive Vice President and General Manager, told Virtual Worlds News. “We know through our research that kids would love to get their hands on them. The opportunity allows us to experiment with what we can take from our world that’s a simple idea that kids can customize, get made, and have sent to them. That sort of translation of virtual world to physical world?¢‚Ǩ‚ÄùI view this as that first step in looking at what that could look like for us.”

Continue reading →

Gaia goes the other way. Virtual clothing becomes real.

It didn’t take too long did it.

Gaia Online has made available to purchase in the real world (via their website) a selection of garments originally created in-world – this is where the metabrand hits the real world.

Gaia has been a busy place of late. First there was the Sony/Warner Bros deal bringing movies in-world, then, not to be outdone, Time Warner invested in the company.

This latest development is another example of brand new revenue streams being realised from virtual world activity. More information about Gaia accessories over on the Wonderland blog. Continue reading →