Marketing gurus recommend a Second Life in cyberspace

04 May, 2007

Website replicates everything you'd find in real life - except off-licences

Coca-Cola and Diageo US are the first in the drinks industry to have a major presence in the virtual world of Second Life.

Both companies are using the interactive 3D website - in which users take on a virtual personality to socialise , buy virtual goods and even build up virtual businesses - to advertise their brands to 5.6 million registered users.

There's currently no sign of a virtual off-licence, leaving the opportunity wide open for drinks retailers to set up shop.

Coca-Cola has opened a Coke Pavilion where users can enter a competition to design a virtual Coke vending machine that "unleashes a refreshing and attention-grabbing experience on demand", such as playing music or displaying animation and videos. The winning concept will be made into a Second Life reality.

Diageo-owned has set up a virtual bar which is free for any Second Life pub owner, provided they are over 21. Within the bar kit is a wide variety of Diageo's brands and all the bottles have been programmed to provide a variety of social networking features, such as toasts and other animations.

In the UK, Diageo is using the internet as a marketing tool with Pimm's O'Clock character Harry having his own webpage on MySpace. But venturing into Second Life isn't currently part of the plan, said brand manager Matt Campbell.

Anheuser-Busch has created an online environment for Budweiser, where users can listen to music, play games and buy goods in an online auction using Bud Bucks, which they get from buying bottles of the beer in real life.

In Second Life, the likes of Adidas, Toyota and Calvin Klein have virtual shops. Could drinks companies be next?

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