Absolut Vodka, owned by Pernod Ricard, is setting up shop in the metaverse to mark the return of Coachella after a tumultuous few years. The virtual installation is meant to draw attention to Absolut's longstanding Coachella sponsorship while expanding its footprint beyond the event into the wider digital world.
The three-floor installation, known as Absolut.Land, attempts to mix the brand's real and virtual presence. A Decentraland building is made to look like a bottle of Absolut that visitors can explore. A kiosk will also be on hand in the Absolut tent at Coachella. People visiting the tent will be able to tend bar in the virtual world and distribute wearables to those visiting the metaverse space at home. The activation stems from a desire to further link the Absolut brand to the music festival, according to Pam Forbus, chief marketing officer of Pernod Ricard North America.
"How do we get known for being at Coachella? I don't know how many people even knew Absolut was the official vodka of Coachella... So how do we amplify that partnership and get known for it," Forbus said.
A layered approach
Floor one of Absolut.Land is made to look like a virtual bar, where a virtual bartender doles out wearables and real-life cocktail recipes flash across a large screen. Using an anti-gravity chamber, consumers can fly up to the other two floors and rooftop garden. On floor two, users can guide their avatar through a gallery of iconic Absolut ads and take selfies. On floor three, they can explore the rainbow-themed Pride room, where wearables will be given to those who post about their experience on social media. On the roof, consumers will also have the opportunity to listen to Swedish House Mafia's new album, "Paradise Again." The album is the first from the band since it reunited in 2018.
The virtual metaverse space will also feature virtual cocktails, games and prizes. In terms of commerce integration, no actual bottles of Absolut will be available for purchase in the metaverse space. However, vending machine-like spaces scattered throughout the installation will prompt users to enter their ZIP codes and be directed to where they can buy a bottle of the spirit after the activation.
Absolut.Land is the latest in a long line of metaverse activations from alcohol brands. During the Super Bowl, Miller Lite opened a metaverse bar, while Heineken and Jose Cuervo followed up with metaverse breweries. The metaverse offers brands a unique way of reaching consumers, and alcohol brands want to be an early part of that movement. As these activations become more mainstream, brands will need to find ways to distinguish themselves in an increasingly crowded market.
With Absolut's activation, alcohol isn't the only thing drawing users to the space. The possibility of receiving a free NFT designed by Susan Alexandra will not only encourage people to show up, but also share their experience on social media. Fans of Swedish House Mafia may be spurred to create an avatar just to get an exclusive listen of the group's new album.
Absolut has had a longstanding relationship with Swedish House Mafia, which first partnered with the brand 10 years ago.
In addition to leaning on an existing partnership with Swedish House Mafia, Absolut.Land embraces its Pride associations. The brand has long been a sponsor of LGBTQ+ organizations and events, and it can now reinforce that connection through the Pride room within the virtual space.
Absolut's virtual world generates buzz around the return of a popular music festival while also extending visibility on social media. The virtual space is designed to encourage user interaction both in the real and virtual worlds.
"What I'll be watching for most is how we can encourage social interaction both in real life and in the metaverse and between the two worlds. I think that's really unique," Forbus said. "And I'm going to be on the ground every day watching it and seeing how it works."