A few weeks ago we saw Miller Lite opening a metaverse bar for the Super Bowl. And today, Heineken took to the metaverse to launch a "virtual" beer—but in this case, it's all a huge ironic joke.
The beer brand invited journalists to virtual platform Decentraland for a press briefing on the launch of "Virtual Heineken Silver." At the virtual event (if the platform didn't crash your computer first), avatars gathered to see Global Head of Brand Bram Westernbrink take to the stage and explain how the beer was "brewed with millions of pixels" and made with "Binary Coded Hops" grown by NPC (non-player character) farmers. Eventually, accompanied by a random appearance from an avatar version of soccer player Thierry Henry, Westernbrink revealed it was all "an ironic joke" because of course, a virtual beer tastes of "nothing."
Also See: Miller Lite's Super Bowl commercial running only in the metaverse.
We wondered if this was an early April Fool's stunt by the brand, on but on further investigation, it seems that the metaverse launch is the precursor to the launch of an actual new beer, Heineken Silver. The low alcohol brand (4% ABV), which is brewed with sustainably farmed barley using a chilled process, will be rolling out across the U.K. and Europe over the next few weeks.
In the meantime, to build awareness, Heineken will be teasing the "virtual beer" with some social videos, seen here. The idea? To emphasize that the real-life beer will be much more exciting than the virtual one, despite all the current hype about the metaverse, NFTs and digital wearables.
To quote Westernbrink: "It is a self-aware idea that pokes fun at us and many other brands that are jumping into the metaverse with products that are best enjoyed in the real world. For now, you can’t taste pixels and bytes. So, we want to make a joke about that and remind everyone that nothing beats the taste of a refreshing beer, including our new virtual Heineken Silver, in the real world.”
The whole campaign, including the concept, digital videos and forthcoming TV commercial, comes from Publicis Italy/Le Pub.
We do wonder if it will confuse the heck out of consumers—but maybe that's the point, because what is the metaverse if not confusing?