The Metaverse is everywhere, but what exactly is it, and how can it affect the cannabis industry?
It is where the gaming world (AR, VR, AI) and decentralized blockchain-based platforms converge to create an immersive 3D experience where you can make transactions with digital currency. To participate in the Metaverse, you must create an Avatar, a digital version of yourself or whoever you want to be.
Children’s video games such as Sim, Roblox, Fortnite, and Animal Crossing have been using virtual currencies for years. The gamification of blockchain-based technologies allows real currency transactions in an adult world through the Metaverse to be made.
For the cannabis industry, this is all good because the Metaverse is decentralized, meaning it is not controlled by a central entity like the government or a bank. Therefore, there are no restrictions on marketing your brand of cannabis.
Opportunities Within the Metaverse
A reasonably diverse group inhabits the Metaverse. According to Statista, 38% of players are between the ages of 18 and 34, 14% are between 35 and 44, 12% are between 45 and 54, and 9% are over 55. Fifty-eight percent of visitors are male, and 41% are female.
Apple, Nike, and other well-known brands are starting to enter the Metaverse and will change their demographics to include a wider range of consumers. It often gets compared with the early days of social media when we were introduced to a new way of socializing.
Today’s kids and teenagers are growing up in a digital world where they buy virtual things (think NFTs) and are comfortable socializing and transacting. When they become adults, they will carry this culture with them, and marketers must understand it to reach this target audience.
Musicians such as Travis Scott, John Legend, Little Naz, and Snoop Dogg have already embraced the space by performing concerts in the Metaverse. Snoop Dog said that since he is looking for new ways to connect with his audience bought “land” in SandBox, a virtual world in the Metaverse.
The Metaverse is also a collective of virtual worlds. If someone builds a “people’s world” (Sandbox, Decentraland) in the Metaverse, they can attract buyers and sell advertising space or property like a magazine or other media outlets.
These are some of the ways in which cannabis brands can enter the Metaverse to reach consumers in a different universe and expand their digital footprint:
- Advertising (billboards) and product placement opportunities will emerge within these diverse worlds.
- Virtual terrains. Someone actually paid $450,000 to “live” next door to Snoop Dog and have access to his audience. Smart move. Let’s say they have a dispensary. Now they have access to all of Snoop’s concert-goers as they tour the Snoopverse, and sales of their products are made possible by blockchain smart contract technology.
- Emerging events. How about a Paris Hilton-style consumer lounge? Paris hosted a New Year’s Eve party and participated as a DJ with her Avatar.
- Product demos. Brands often host pop-ups at dispensaries to showcase their products – make it virtual. In the Metaverse, this can be a fun, immersive experience in which sellers can teach about all the types of cannabis and their benefits.
- Large-scale events like Lollapalooza or Comic-Con will offer opportunities for brands to advertise or sell merchandise (NFTs).
- Brands notice and follow: Facebook changed its name to Meta and has pledged $10 million in R&D to build an entire virtual world in the Metaverse. Moves like this are quickly changing the trajectory towards which technology and consumers are moving.
The landscape shows that the Metaverse will allow the cannabis industry members to reinvent themselves and eventually, tackle new challenges and audiences.