BevAlc Brands Enter the Metaverse

a group of people posing for the camera

Alcoholic beverage brands are serving up fun this year in the virtual reality space known as the metaverse.

The Heineken Co. launched its first virtual beer, Heineken Silver, in March within the Decentraland digital platform before bringing the product to real events in Europe. Then in April, Pernod Ricard's Absolut activated its sponsorship as the official vodka of the Coachella Music Festival with a hybrid physical and metaverse experience known as Absolut.Land. 

Pernod Ricard North America’s Pam Forbus, SVP, chief marketing officer, answered a few questions about the activation and its benefits.


P2PIQ: Why did Pernod Ricard decide to enter the metaverse?

Forbus: While the metaverse is new, it's clear there is strong consumer interest that is still growing as the platforms mature, giving us a new way to meet consumers where they are (or want to be).

As we approached the 10th anniversary of Absolut;s status as the official vodka of Coachella, we saw an incredible opportunity to blend our on-site festival experience with digital to engage those unable to join in-person. Our mission is to create moments for people to come together and mix, and this activation does just that.

We strategically purchased high-traffic, Decentraland real estate as a long-term commitment to activating during marquee moments in the virtual world, putting our brands front and center to unlock the magic of human connection and bring conviviality to life for consumers.


P2PIQ: What are the benefits of standing up virtual activations like these for Pernod Ricard?

Forbus: We've entered this space because we believe in the opportunities it presents to deliver on our brand promise to be at the forefront of culture and serve up unmatched experiences for consumers to socialize. E-commerce integrations are a good example of this as the metaverse is creating a world in which consumers can socialize and shop, and have products delivered right to their door. We are doing this with our signature cocktail kit in partnership with electronic music group Swedish House Mafia for consumers to order in Absolut.Land. We believe there will be even more opportunity in the near future for consumers to shop for their favorite brands in this virtual space. 

We're excited by the prospect of competitors entering this space and creating their own experiences. Competitor activity only strengthens traffic and engagement in the metaverse, contributing to the overall success of our activities.


P2PIQ: Do you foresee blended activations with physical and metaverse elements becoming more common for liquor brands? 

Forbus: Only time will tell, but we know Absolut made this investment to meet our consumers in more ways. We’ve built a one-of-a-kind metaverse experience with Absolut.Land that blends IRL [in real life] and virtual. It goes beyond the traditional activations to drive true social mixing, starting with our long-standing partnership with Coachella. While other spirits companies are in the metaverse, what’s really special about our approach is the interconnectivity of how IRL at the tent influenced the digital experience in the metaverse during our live event at Coachella.

We know the space is new for some consumers and people are at different stages of discovery within the metaverse. It is so important for us to test this space with brands that can authentically show up and connect with others no matter where they are in their metaverse journey.


P2PIQ: Whom did you partner with on this project?

Forbus: United Entertainment Group was the lead brand strategy and co-lead on creative. They also helped with talent and influencers.

Young Hero was the co-lead creative and creative production. Banquet Labs provided metaverse strategy and Parcel Party was the lead developer.