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03/18/2022

From AR to the Metaverse: Heineken and Eyebobs Embrace Digital Experiences

Liz Dominguez
Managing Editor
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Heineken silver, a virtual beer, being held by a virtual avatar.
Virtual avatar holds Heineken Silver, a virtual beer. Source: Heineken

How far will virtual tech go in transforming the brand experience? From new try-on capabilities to completely virtual products, Eyebobs and Heineken are the latest companies to embrace the growing trend. 

Eyebobs recently launched a new digital shopping experience that allows consumers to instantly see how a pair of glasses will look on their face. The capability leverages virtual tech with facial recognition to apply consumers with a visual aid in real-time. Consumers can access the capability via a “try on” button next to each design.

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Virtual Try-On Feature
Virtual Try-On Feature; Source: Eyebobs

According to the company, the feature also allows consumers to see what different models look like “on the move.” By scanning the try-on QR code using their iPhone or iPad camera, consumers can view a true-to-scale representation of the glasses.

Megan McMolnau, senior director and head of growth at Eyebobs, said consumers will be able to figure out which glasses look good on them “without having to move a muscle.” 

The virtual try-on feature is currently only available for certain frames.

Heineken has taken virtual tech a step further, leveraging augmented reality and fully immersing consumers in the metaverse with a new completely virtual beer, Heineken Silver. Consumers can access the virtual product inside the  Decentraland metaverse. 

Heineken unveiled its digital beer at a product launch event inside the company’s virtual brewery, partially designed by street artist J. Demsky. 

The beer is made of the finest, 100% computer-generated ingredients, brewed with Binary Coded Hops grown by NPC (non-player character) farmers, the company quipped. 

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Heineken Silver metaverse stage
Heineken Silver in the metaverse. Source: Heineken

Bram Westenbrink, global head of the Heineken brand, said the virtual experience, and the metaverse as a whole, is about bringing people together “in a light-hearted and immersive way that is really exciting.”

“Our new virtual beer, Heineken Silver, is an ironic joke. 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,” added Westenbrink. “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."

Heineken and Eyebobs are not the only CPG companies and retailers to jump on the virtual bandwagon. Nike recently invested in its metaverse presence, launching Nikeland on Roblox, and recognizing that the strategy is one of collaboration, allowing for partnership across the ecosystem. 

[Related: NRF 2022: Direct-to-Avatar Strategy Imperative for Brands Prepping Metaverse Entry]

Other companies like Walmart have used virtual tech to support the digital shopping experience as Eyebobs has. Walmart recently launched virtual fitting room technology that allows consumers to see how varying clothing designs will look on their body types before placing an online order. 

Other companies like L’Oreal are leveraging virtual tech for the purpose of product innovation and to deliver personalized offerings that strengthen consumer relationships. Meanwhile, several brands are experimenting with NFTs, looking to monetize virtual product innovation. 

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