To social gamers, the ‘metaverse’ isn’t new: they’ve been blazing a trail for years. Then Zuckerberg threw the spotlight onto it.
Passionate gamers and creators in user-generated online spaces often feel left out as brands march-in with pop-up rooms that jar with their social gaming experience. They built a community of fans and innovated in the spaces, but often don’t get to participate in the headline events.
During the pandemic, Soap & Glory struggled to connect with their core audience of young women. They’d disconnected from ‘normal’ shopping experiences and moved away from their usual social media platforms – but stats showed that they were connecting with each other in social gaming.
We found a growing percentage of young women had become avid gamers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The UK gaming population increased by 63% during the first lockdown, with women representing 44% of that demographic.
Given the beauty industry has typically relied on traditional media and advocacy from influencers on social channels, we knew harnessing an emerging digital platform would give us a competitive edge.
So long before the hype around the metaverse, we embraced social gaming. We decided to do so in an authentic way that connected with the players.
Our strategy was to empower the community itself, co-creating an experience with a collection of the brightest young creators on the platform, who knew what their community enjoyed and delight newbies. We gave the keys to the kids, and put our faith in their experience.
We created an immersive, playful world of games and hang-outs in RecRoom – a user-generated social gaming ‘metaverse’ platform – to introduce Soap & Glory’s new range of products.
To build a new reality you need new builders, so we assembled a team of some of the most awarded builders across the network and partnered with communities to deliver an experience that was in-keeping with the games that the RecRoom players flock to. Working with our team, including Soap & Glory fan Klo, a 17-year-old from Hull, we collaborated directly with the client in our space to prototype the assets and gameplay.
Players were guided through a Boots store replica and into a series of gaming experiences. Each room includes products within the architecture and the gameplay references how the products were used, from learning about hydration to celebrating citrus ingredients: the brand isn’t a distraction, it is the experience.
Our builders pushed the limits of new code in RecRoom to innovate, creating new ways to encourage people to take pictures in-game, drafted in specialists to craft realistic products and even a composer to create themed soundtracks for each room.
‘Inventions’ are digital assets that players can download and use in their own user-generated rooms on the platform. To keep the community connected with Soap & Glory, players were rewarded with these branded assets– from a super soaker that shoots our product to a branded bed, instruments, and our products – that they could use in their creations.
Lockdown and video call fatigue restricted the possibility of getting journalists together to see new products; we captured journalists’ imaginations by bringing them into the metaverse to connect with the experts, products and real fans in social gaming worlds. We held a private event in Soap & Glory Land to get journalists, influencers, experts and real fans together in the metaverse. Then a public launch, which felt like a real community moment, championed by the creators.
Soap & Glory Land quickly became the number one space globally on RecRoom, with 70k+ players in the first month (target of 10k).
25k in-game photos were shared online (target of 1k) and branded assets were placed in 2k other games rooms, establishing Soap & Glory as a disproportionately prominent brand in this growing social gaming platform.
We exceeded our media KPIs, engaging 120 journalists in initial sessions (target of 100), achieving 66 coverage hits and a reach of 36m.
The activation cemented Soap & Glory as a pioneer of brand co-creation in ‘metaverse’ spaces long before the hype. It won the community’s love, demonstrated by 20+ pages of comments and thousands of ‘favourites’ in the game, and even RecRoom’s CEO spoke about it in PR Week and Campaign Magazine.
Gaming influencers and tech press celebrated a brand helping to create standards for authentic brand experiences in these emerging platforms.
The build team that we assembled were helped to incorporate into an LLC company, and RecRoom now passes on brand commissions to them. We’re so proud of the team and continue to work with them.
Soap & GloryClient
Jenny QuinnBrand Manager
Liz AshfordAccount Lead
Sophie CareyAccount Lead
Ruby QuinceCreative Director
Hill+Knowlton Strategies has been a Contributor since 12th January 2017.