In the latest episode of The Drum’s ‘On The Scene,’ we transport into Decentraland to meet in the metaverse with Pam Forbus, senior vice-president and chief marketing officer, Pernod Ricard North America, for an immersive tour of the Absolut.Land x Coachella festival experience.
To mark its 10th year as the official vodka sponsor of music festival Coachella, Absolut took its ‘born to mix’ brand positioning to a new level with a one-of-a-kind metaverse experience that blended IRL and virtual worlds in Absolut.Land .
Initial figures show that nearly 21,000 avatars from over 100 countries entered the metaverse activation during both weekends of the festival, in addition to 260,000 visitors who attended the on-site festival activation – making it a perfect blend of mixed realities.
To get in on the action, The Drum’s assistant editor Jenni Baker met up with Pam Forbus, senior vice-president and chief marketing officer, Pernod Ricard North America, in the metaverse to have a look around Absolut.Land and find out more about the brand’s first experience dipping its toes in this space.
“We really were trying to mix realities and bring the physical and digital virtual experience together to facilitate human connection and experience, and use Absolut. Land as the catalyst for it,” explains Forbus.
The activation itself “took a village” to build, with a timescale of eight to 10 weeks from idea to execution – the speed of which was enabled by a great team of agency partners, says Forbus. “Our role as leaders was just to let them go, let their imaginations go crazy and the more they came at us with another idea, we would just build it. It was a fantastic experience.”
It’s also been a real opportunity to test and learn, Forbus says: “We had no idea if anyone was even going to show up, but we got such a good response. I’m going to be led by the data to analyze what worked , what didn’t and where consumers really engaged. We decided this would be a two-week experience and experiment but now I’m trying to figure out how to leverage it [beyond this activation].”
She’s also keen to understand how Decentraland and the metaverse is going to evolve over time: “There’s a lot of chatter out there about it – is it going to flash? Is it something that’s going to stick? I have my personal opinions, but over time I think this is going to be the way that you shop, socialize [and] meet up, and there’ll be connected commerce.”
The festival spirit
As a brand born to mix, every touchpoint of the activation was inspired by Absolut’s products, heritage and passion points to “unlock human connections.” From the moment you step into Absolut.Land you are met with the façade of the famous Absolut bottle, with every part of the experience designed to embody the spirit of the festival grounds.
“It exceeded all of our expectations about what the experience was, and we just kept adding more layers of things to do so there were over 10 different activations in our building,” explains Forbus. “And from what we heard there isn’t any other experience like it.”
The Absolut Bar served as the center of mixing the IRL experience with the metaverse. Festival-goers in the physical world could jump in and become the bartender in the digital experience through kiosks placed in the Absolut tent on-site.
Among the innovative experiences featured in Absolut.Land were an anti-gravity dance floor (which attracted over 66,000 visits during the activation), allowing fans to seamlessly flow between floors; the Pride tunnel and rainbow rave, where fans could access the all-out rave paying homage to Absolut’s longtime support of the LGBTQ+ community; and the museum gallery to explore the brand’s rich history in visual arts.
By interacting and participating in the space, users could unlock surprise moments with hidden bottle collectables, product promotions and unique experiences. Over shared virtual drinks, festival-goers also had the chance to unlock over 3,000 wearables, including one-of-a-kind articles from cult-favorite whimsical handbag and jewelry brand Susan Alexandra for Absolut Collection.
Music also played a big role in the experience, with visitors able to hear and watch a livestream of headliner Swedish House Mafia’s latest album Paradise Again, and virtually sip on a specially-created Paradise Paloma cocktail to celebrate the band’s return to the festival stage after 10 years.
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