Find Your Avatar, Buy Her Clothes

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Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society recently held a virtual conference on a virtual island to discuss the virtual marketing of virtual and real products within the game Second Life.

If that's not enough virtual reality to make your head spin, Adotas' Kenneth Musante looked in on real-life panelist at the virtual conference W. James Au (Second Life persona: Hamlet Au), who differentiated between the marketing of products originally created in the real world and products devised in Second Life: "There's already an active, thriving advertising industry in Second Life like . . . billboards [and] a lot of viral advertising. Fashion tends to be the most popular item to buy. Th fashion designer will get their friends to wear their clothing and go to coller nightclubs and stuff to build up an audience."

As for real-world products entering the virtual world, Au said: "It's very much opt-in. I was afraid the magic would be lost if too much real-world commercial interests got involved, but ... real-world advertisers are more interested in creating somewhat separate marketing experiences."

For more on avatar (a.k.a virtual persona) - based marketing, check out Paul Hemp's article in the June Harvard Business Review.