Why Bulgari is embracing Zepeto, Asia’s most popular metaverse


ju in South Korea. The virtual world includes a pop-up store and cafe dubbed Bulgari Sunset in Jeju and provides its users a wide range of digital activities – or quests – that can earn them signature accessories, which they can equip on their Zepeto avatar. 

Guests staying on Jeju Island at the Parnas Hotel can browse the physical Bulgari pop-up store and its range of unique accessories and products from the latest collection. Afterwards, they can take a break to enjoy desserts and beverages at the Bulgari Sunset in Jeju cafe.

The opening digital event was hosted by Bulgari global ambassador Lisa (also known as Lalisa), a Thai singer, dancer and rapper from the South Korean girl group Blackpink. Her avatar in Bulgari Sunset in Jeju offered many interactive experiences to fans who participated in the live event. A popular activity was to take selfies with Lisa while her avatar was moving around the virtual space. 

People entering the Bulgari Zepeto virtual world will be able to browse the brand’s 2022 Resort Collection ‘Sunset in Eden’, inspired by the warm apricot glow that is revealed at the end of a summer’s day. The latest range includes a selection of handbags, sunglasses, jewellery and watches perfect for a day at a resort. 

Several other brands have partnered with Zepeto recently to offer digital fashion and accessories within the virtual world, including Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Levi’s, Puma, DKNY, and Marine Serre, a French designer who won the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers in 2017. 

Zepeto launched in 2018 and has amassed over 300 million users. About 80 per cent are aged between 10 and 24. This significant user base regularly customises their avatars by collecting free, or purchasing, items with Zepeto’s digital currencies  – Zem and Coin. Zepeto users can add actions to their avatar such as popular dances, facial expressions and body movements before posting to social media platforms such as TikTok. 

A phygital lifestyle

Digital natives such as Gen Z (now aged 10 to 25) spend a large portion of their time online, socialising, learning and playing games. It is a lifestyle they are becoming accustomed to and there is no division between online and offline experiences. This generation has embraced a phygital lifestyle with personas to suit both online and offline living.

Youth today see their avatar as an extension of themselves and will use this digital identity as a way of expressing who they are, what they value, and their personal style online. It is a creative outlet they can change daily, depending on their mood, trends, and virtual events.  

Zepeto gives them a space for such living. It is an example of a 3D world accessed through our smartphones where users can create and dress their avatar, join worlds and complete challenges within these spaces to earn digital currency. Virtual interactive environments have become a channel to connect with friends and meet people from all over the world. 

Fashion brands are tapping into this emerging space. 

ZepetoX

Recently, Zepeto announced another partnership, with public blockchain platform Solana and Web3 developer Jump Crypto, to create a cryptocurrency-based metaverse project called ZepetoX. The 3D open-world platform is expected to provide advanced functionality for users to build, play, and earn on top of the Solana network. 

“ZepetoX is our official venture into the blockchain industry. We feel that Web3 opportunities should be advanced through a crypto-native approach,” said Kim Dae-wook, CEO of Naver Z, Zepeto’s parent company.

This will add more interactive layers to the Zepeto experience, including the introduction of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), enabling users to trade digital items within the Zepeto metaverse. We’re seeing more games built on top of blockchain technology, with Australian start-up Immutable one of the leading studios powering Web3 games. 

While headlines continue to highlight luxury brands and their metaverse campaigns, this wave of immersive technological advancements has started to greatly impact our everyday lives. 

Now, Bulgari is cleverly positioning its high-end jewellery and handbags in metaverse mini games, enticing users to interact with the brand through quests and collectables. While the traditional luxury consumer may not see the value in this strategy, it’s a necessity in building trust and recognition with generations growing up with digital as their first touchpoint.



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