The skate brand’s global brand marketing director talks about how he created Roblox’s most popular activation to date.
The Metaverse was heralded as the next big thing in marketing, but many of the industry’s earliest entrants have made a U-turn. Disney, for example, canceled a project it launched earlier this year. Despite betting big on the technology, Meta (which rebranded from Facebook to capitalize on the hype) has scaled back its ambitions. And as interest waned, Microsoft shifted its focus from virtual worlds to AI and ChatGPT.
Amidst this uncertainty, one brand’s success story stands out. Last month, Vans became the first fashion company to surpass 100 million Roblox visitors at its virtual skate park and skate shop, Vans World.
Vans World is an enduring virtual branded experience launching on immersive gaming platform Roblox in September 2021, making Vans one of the earliest adopters. In Vans World, players can skate with friends, compete against each other in interactive challenges, and collect points by completing tricks (from ollies to kickflips). These points are used for customizable outfits and skateboards for your avatar in the virtual skate shop.
“Our gamer community has grown organically, largely due to the authentic gaming experience at Vans World,” Vans global brand marketing director Lizzy Yao told The Drum. “Here, we strive to not only entertain, but also to inspire and educate the next generation about skateboarding, fashion and community values. works seamlessly with Vans’ commitment to fostering creative self-expression.
The experience was developed in partnership with The Gang, a Swedish game developer creating bespoke metaverse experiences for the world’s biggest brands including Gucci, Givenchy, Amazon, Spotify and the National Hockey League (NHL). I was.
“Many of the world’s leading brands, including those we have worked with, have come to recognize the transformative potential of this Metaverse platform as an effective route to market and channel to engage key audiences. ” added Marcus Holmström. agency chief executive.
“Individual expression is deeply embedded in skating culture, and Vans has supported and enabled this kind of creativity for over 50 years. It was very important for brands to enable creative expression in an accessible and inclusive way.”
Why Vans World Works
Holmström notes that Vans’ presence on the platform will inform brands about the digitally savvy younger demographic finding self-expression and community in the virtual realm, Holmstrom notes. also helps.
Roblox data suggests that in-game customization is important, similar to what Vans World offers players. Nearly half (47%) of Roblox users said dressing up as an avatar allows them to express their individuality, and 43% said it helps them feel good about themselves. Customization also helps you feel more connected to your peers.
Another key component of Vans Worlds’ success is regular innovation and updates. Nearly two years into its existence, Vans World has maintained player interest through continuous brand collaborations and updates. These include his BMX feature, which was introduced in early 2022, and a recent Gucci collaboration from April, which has since been nominated in the Roblox Innovation Awards’ “Best Collaboration” category.
Many of these updates come from direct communication between Vans and its consumers, Yao said. “We listen carefully to their requirements through her Discord channel and use this feedback and ideas to improve our users’ experience and add new game features,” she said.
After the unprecedented success of Vans World, Yao said Vans is poised to blur the lines between digital and physical in its holistic marketing approach going forward.
“The biggest lesson is knowing that our new generation will grow more and more as creators and express themselves online in new and different ways. To allow them to unleash their creativity in the most authentic way, whether through skateboarding, music, art and design, or fashion,” she said.
“As we learn about user preferences and behaviors at Vans World, we are leveraging these lessons to create new and exciting ways to blend online and physical experiences across the customer journey.”
Dealing with Metaverse Hesitation
CEOs and CMOs have taken a cautious approach since industry giants like Disney, Microsoft and Meta publicly announced their plans to scale back their Metaverse plans. Still, a minority continue to take bold steps into the Metaverse. For example, just last week Paris Hilton. has launched its own immersive virtual world on Roblox called Slivingland, featuring a partnership with Taco Bell.
This investment is a testament to the fact that the metaverse market continues to grow despite the failure of several corporate ventures. It is estimated to reach $65.5 billion by 2022. According to Statistica, that number is expected to grow to $82 billion by the end of 2023 and surge to $936.6 billion by 2030. With 66.1 million daily active users, Roblox is driving its growth noticeably.
Holmstrom points out that Roblox’s age demographic appears to be expanding beyond the 13-and-under age group, which historically made up half of its daily users.
“[Roblox] It’s becoming a vibrant community for all demographics and ages…because [it] A place where people can be who they want to be. The platform offers all users the freedom to create different digital identities through avatar customization,” he said.
“Brand revitalization is what gives players the most opportunities for self-expression, and it performs best on the platform.”