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Second Life: Mercedes Benz Enters the Metaverse

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Sherwin Smith

on 26 February 2014

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Transcript of Second Life: Mercedes Benz Enters the Metaverse

Second Life: Mercedes Benz Enters the Metaverse
Social Games
First became popular in 2002, thanks to The Sims Online
How did they do it?
A scalable grid of servers was configured to support the content of the Second Life virtual world
Broadcast Events
Social Settings
Fantasy Sims
Experience a new world
3D-Intranet - planned US10 million investment in Second Life in 2007
Calvin Klein
Smelling is not possible in the virtual world...
But, what about the RESIDENTS?
Linden Lab is a service provider...they do not control various aspects of the service.
(Speeds not guaranteed?)
Mercedes-Benz enters Second Life
What is Second Life?
"Second Life is not a video game but a place where people make things."
- Philip Rosedale, Founder and CEO, Linden Lab
'Today [June 23rd 2003], Linden Lab officially unveiled Second Life, a rapidly growing and constantly changing 3D-online society, shaped entirely by its residents. In Second Life, Linden Lab has pioneered real-time 3D-streaming technologies and advanced compression capabilities to create a persistent, contiguous landscape where residents can discover a world of exploration, socializing, creativity, self-expression, and fun unlike any other.'
- Linden Lab Press Release, June 23rd 2003
Social interaction is a key driver of people's Internet use today, and is a central part of 'Web 2.0'.
"We'll become bigger than MySpace! Second Life will be as big as the whole Internet - I assume about 1.5 billion users."
- Philip Rosedale, Founder and CEO, Linden Lab
Grand Expectations
Each server runs one sim, a virtual 65,536m square geographic area, that supports 50 - 100 avatars in one place at one time.
Each server talks only to its four nearest neighbors, allowing infinite scaling as the world becomes larger
Sounds good?
How do we (they) cash in?
Subscriptions; monthly, yearly, and lifetime
In-Game Tax on limited resources and other objects
(The client is free)
Purchasing (in-game) land (for premium members)
Monthly maintenance fees (real world) for large plots of virtual land
US4 million in 2005, US12 million in 2006:
80% from land and maintenance, 20% from subscriptions

How much Real Cash are we talking about here?
The goals of Linden Lab's Community Standards are simple: treat each other with respect and without harassment, adhere to local standards as indicated by simulator ratings, and refrain from any hate-motivated activity that slurs a real-world individual or community.
In-World Shopping
Residents can cash in too!
Linden Scripting Language allows residents to create objects (content) in the world of Second Life.
Prims (in-world atoms), textures and scripts are used to build and animate residents' creations.
Whole buildings, towns, cities, places of real-world interest (eg. museums) can be and have been constructed.
'The growth of the community and expanding market-place should yield a bigger income stream for the thousands of content creators who are making money within Second Life.'
- Linden Lab press release, October 3rd 2005
Introducing the LindeX
Product placement in Video Games
'Marketing depends on soliciting people's dreams, and here [in virtual worlds], those dreams are on overt display.'
- Harvard Business Review, June 2006
"Second Life is not the first virtual world in Cyberspace, but none appears so real. This [virtual] world became an extension to the real-world economy."
- 'Die Zeit', January 4th 2007
Q3, 2009, inclusive of bot activity
Summer 2006: DaimlerChrysler 'receives attention' about Second Life
July 2007 Mercedes-Benz launches the 18th mixed tape compilation; They also announce the introduction of the new enhanced platform to their loyal customers in autumn 2007
"With the pending launch of the Mercedes-benz C-Class in March 2007, we could combine our entrance into Second Life with this special market introduction."
- Interview with Mercedes-Benz Representative on April 21st, 2007
Resident Age Ranges
The digital communication team focused on two important key factors: gaining insights and experience of 3D-environments by initiating a one-one dialog with potential customers as at a real-world car dealer.
The concept and implementation offered multiple entertainment choices, and integrated existing market platforms, like the Mercedes-Benz mixed tape.

On February 15th, 2007, the company launched both its Second Life island, but also the accompanying website.

On February 20th, a live event was hosted by Merceds-Benz, on their virtual world island.
Launched their presence in October 2006
The 'Virtual Thirst' Campaign, in April 2007, invited avatars as well as the real-world public to submit ideas for a portable virtual vending machine. Huh?
Starwood Hotels
Before opening to the public in 2008, they had a virtual 'Aloft' prototype created in Second Life
Axel-Springer AG
Launched their Second Life presence in February 2007 as a part of their 'Make the most of now' marketing strategy
Virtual Presence established on March 7th, 2007
France's 2007 Presidential Election
All four major candidates in France's 2007 presidential election opened virtual headquarters in Second Life to engage residents in debates, attend political rallies and take part in protests.
Insead (insead.edu)
Announced in March 2007 that is had established a virtual campus in Second Life
Alongside its participation at CeBIT, they built a virtual trade-fair stand in Second life (March 15th - 21st, 2007)
Different Companies,
Different Concepts
December 2006: 800 employees active in the virtual world
May 2007: 4000 employees active in the virtual world
30 other virtual islands for research, onboarding new employees, providing developer support and conducting meetings with staff and clients
Established their island near the Adidas Store (which was established in September, 2006)
The district was urban-style, in keeping with the "I am what I am" campaign
Residents could buy a blank pair of shoes
(L$50), then design them later (L$5) at the customization station
The Second Life launch of the IN2U fragrances for men and women coincided with the real-world launch on March 21st, 2007
The spray bottles allowed avatars to spray each other with bubbles and 'initiate dialogue'.
"ck IN2U speaks the language of a generation connected by technology - the aptly named technosexuals. They are the first generation to be defined more by their means of communication rather than fashion or music."
- Lori Singer, Vice President of Global Marketing at Calvin Klein Fragrances
The winner received a trip to San Francisco, the honor of building the vending machine, and participation in a video documenting the creation of the winning design object. Huh?
The campaign was promoted via multiple social networks, and received submissions via several different channels
They built the virtual place 'Sony-Ericsson Island', and offered products ranging from mobile phones to accessories
They provided a lounge area, complete with music and dancing, free branded digital t-shirts, and a chance to win a mobile phone each day in the real world
The way in which avatars navigated this prototype, and the feedback from those residents was used to test market and rapidly prototype the actual Aloft project from 2006
Since residents do not actually sleep, the presence could not be maintained indefinitely, and they left Second Life in June 2007
Created a 30-page weekly, professional tabloid newspaper for Second Life residents called 'The AvaStar'
There was a virtual office, complete with an actual editor-in-chief and 20 embedded reporters and contributors from Second Life
Professionally designed and constructed publishing house on AvaStar Island
English and German versions of the newpaper were sold, L$150 per issue, or via subscription
At least three virtual environments were created for visitors, including a musical, interactive experience
A communication service was provided that allowed residents to call each other via actual mobile phones, as well as communicate with friends who were outside of Second Life.
Offered virtual and real jobs, to real-world and in-world job-seekers
"More and more people quit their real-world jobs and enter virtual worlds to earn money. There is a growing demand for personal services because many companies now need in-world staff. We reach people that seek a job in real life, but prefer this virtual channel to get information about temporary work."
- Christine Uphoff, Head of Marketing at Randstad (Germany)
Campaigns reported daily visit numbers of up to 20,000, 11,000, 10,000 and 7,000.
Each campaign required virtual world staff, and some provided custom in-world items.
Three Bayrou supporters spent 50 hours each over three weeks to construct the headquarters, the maintenance of which later required ten people working two to three hours a day
Integrated Second Life into a range of programs, including its MBA and Executive Education.
One MBA class on entrepreneurship gave participants the opportunity to develop a business plan and test it in Second Life
Gartner's Five Laws for Companies participating in virtual worlds
First Law:
Second Law:
Third Law:
Fourth Law:
Fifth Law:
Virtual worlds are not games, but neither are they a parallel universe (yet)
Behind every avatar is a real person
Be relevant and add value
Understand and contain the downside
This is a long haul
The future of virtual worlds and social networking
Today's multiplicity of virtual environments has developed through the convergence of social networking simulation and online gaming. There are many new entrants, whose stability and scalability are not yet established. There is a significant probability that, over time, market pressures will lead to a merging of current virtual worlds, into a smaller number of open-sourced environments that support the free transfer of assets and avatars from one to another with the use of a single universal client.

- Gartner Inc. Press Release, April 26th 2007
Well-established virtual world with a decade's worth of user-created content
Functional Real Money Trading linked to Virtual World commerce, supported by user-owned content
Free to participate (with the ability to generate in-world income) and greater interaction is available via in-game currency expenditure
Relatively flexible, open structure for content creation and user expression
Links to other virtual worlds and social networks
Unstructured development and poor quality control
Technological limitations for communication and hosting of in-world events
Legal considerations and apparently weak implementation
Dependent on relatively small percentages of users for various goals (eg. logged hours, quality content development, land rentals etc.)
Relatively steep learning curve (using the client and developing content)
Loss of user-created content (in the event of a data disaster)
Increased interaction via other social media networks
Increased company/organisation involvement
More media throughput possible due to increasing bandwidth and more processing capacity (eg. virtual world theatrical productions or arenas)
More 3D Modeling and prototyping of homes, office spaces etc.
Active marketing of real-estate to businesses worldwide
Copycat virtual worlds
More specialized online services (eg. gaming, virtual world collaboration, social networking, media sharing)
3d virtual worlds with more structured content development and quality control
Open source 3d virtual world frameworks
Mobile integration and services
The Niche of Second Life
Right, sure. (The joys of a virtual world, eh?)

This is marketing, so have a plan
- Don't get into the virtual world without a plan, or you are practically wasting time
Keep the builders at bay
- Study the tools and environment and create only what is necessary.
- Maintain the concept across channels
Giving is better than receiving
- Offers of 'useful' or 'valuable' items and services encourage users
Keep the seats warm
- Keep personnel available whenever possible and relevant
Stoke the fire
- Keep residents interested
Promote and cross-promote
- If you have a high traffic site, or company media available, try to link them to the virtual world, or make them available IN the virtual world
(Ok, there’s actually 8. Number 8, is go back to number 1!)
Full transcript