Morning Brew - Think inside the Roblox

Creative challenges in the metaverse.
Morning Brew June 23, 2022

Marketing Brew


It’s Thursday. Yesterday at Cannes, iHeartMedia announced a podcast called Prop Culture. It’s hosted by NFTs. Yes, you read that right.

In today’s edition:

—Alyssa Meyers, Ryan Barwick


The new creative frontier

Absolut, Chipotle, Miller Lite metaverse experiences Absolut, Chipotle, Miller Lite

A bar or a restaurant in the metaverse may seem counterintuitive; you can’t get a buzz from a virtual beer or bite into a piece of pizza when it’s made of pixels.

Nevertheless, some brands are eager to set up shop on platforms like Decentraland and Roblox, presenting a new set of creative challenges for their agencies.

Go big or go home: Building a metaverse experience requires a big team, according to Roberto Max Salas, co-founder and CEO of creative service and production agency Young Hero, one of the many that worked on Absolut.Land, Absolut’s Coachella experience in the metaverse. For Absolut.Land, Young Hero brought on several partners, including metaverse studio and NFT consultancy Banquet to help find the right land, and metaverse event and entertainment company Parcel Party to help develop the space.

Tressie Lieberman, VP of digital marketing and off-premise for Chipotle, told us the brand has mobilized larger creative teams for metaverse campaigns than it does for more traditional ones.

  • Chipotle has so far hosted two virtual experiences on Roblox: the first tied to its annual Halloween event last year, and the second on National Burrito Day this past April.

“It takes a large, cross-functional group to bring something like this to life, which is another reason we’ve leaned into platforms like Roblox that have scaled to make sure that the effort that we’re putting into this has the potential to really drive that mass engagement,” she said.

Cutting costs

But just like in the real world, creatives have to adhere to a budget, and land in the metaverse is more expensive in some areas, according to Christine Lane, head of innovation and experience at DDB North America.

  • DDB found a workaround on this front for Miller Lite’s “Meta Lite Bar” in Decentraland, using portals to send users from the main space to different virtual rooms situated on more affordable land.
  • “The consumer doesn’t know any difference,” Lane said. “They just think they’re walking through a portal, but suddenly they’re out in the middle of nowhere, which is going to be much cheaper to maintain than your fancy storefront, which was on prime real estate.”

Read the full story here.—AM



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Risky business

a podcast host talking into a mic with the word "Censored" coming out of his mouth in a speech bubble Francis Scialabba

“What the fuck am I selling? Did I approve this? This is fucking ridiculous. Who the fuck is gonna buy this shit?”

That’s comedian Bill Burr on his Monday Morning Podcast, reading an ad for Shari’s Berries.

He went on to say that he’s going to “get in trouble for that fucking read, and I’m not changing it because that was hilarious.”

  • Evidently, he didn’t get in that much trouble with the company, because it commissioned him to read another ad later.

$$$: Shari’s Berries parent company 1-800-Flowers did not respond to a request to comment on the ad, but Krystina Rubino, general manager of the offline practice at marketing freelancer platform Right Side Up, who said she’s familiar with the deal but wasn’t involved in it, told Marketing Brew “Do I know for a fact that that ad printed money for them for years? I do.”

This ad, though extreme, represents a fairly unique conundrum for the podcast industry given the predominance of host-read ads: In some cases, brand safety doesn’t always have to do with the content surrounding the ad. Sometimes, it can be about the ad itself.

Keep reading here.—AM



Marketing Brew at Cannes Lions 2022 Illustration: Francis Scialabba, Photo: Radu Bercan/EyeEm/Getty Images

For many, Wednesday is the pinnacle of the Cannes Lions festival. By now, folks are beginning to peel off, heading home as their itineraries die down. At least for me, I don’t think I’ll ever forget the image of one sales dude drinking out of his $500 bottle of rosé last night, the size of a prize-winning marlin.

So, yeah, everyone went hard.

The rundown: I started my morning at the Twitter beach, where the platform announced a partnership with Shopify alongside updates on new tools for advertisers, like Branded Likes. I then met up with Jeremy Helfand, SVP and head of advertising platforms for Disney Media, entertainment and distribution, at the company’s suite in the Hôtel Martinez to talk about sexy stuff like measurement and cross-platform attribution.

  • Afterwards, cybersecurity company Human hosted a panel on fraud in the metaverse, hosted by Morning Brew’s own Jason Schulweis, which introduced me to a concept I wish I hadn’t heard: “soulbound tokens.”
  • I then hit the First Party Capital (get it?) happy hour to hang with a bunch of European ad-tech consultants before forgetting to eat dinner. It was great to finally meet people who aren’t from Manhattan.
  • Spotify hosted the Black Keys and Post Malone, but I went with LCD Soundsystem performing at the Amazon Port. James Murphy and Co. threw it down, but it will probably be remembered as the most tame LCD show in recorded history—evidently, advertisers don’t loosen up until after 2am, when we were excused from the iHeartMedia yacht (shoes off!) and made our way to the infamous Gutter Bar, a mobbed scene of overflowing bodies and one giant bottle of rosé.

Overheard: “Always let the sales people pay.”

Seeking: If you’re the TikTok exec who ran away from me when I said I was a reporter, you can find me on Signal. I just wanna say hi.

Another overheard, too good to not include: “I do data…but we can talk about it when I’m not on psilocybin?” Sure, man.—RB



What’s your brave marketing moment? The Brave Marketer podcast gives you a backstage view on how leading marketers from top brands take risks and solve the challenges facing the ad industry. We cover cookieless advertising, unreachable audiences, crypto marketing, Web3, privacy, and more. Listen wherever you get your podcasts.


French press Francis Scialabba

There are a lot of bad marketing tips out there. These aren’t those.

Say more: Twitter is rolling out a new feature called Notes, which will enable users (and brands) to write longer posts on the platform.

Flex: Hootsuite outlines how it racked up 11.8k followers on TikTok in less than a year.

Ask away: The best free survey-maker tools for marketers.

Mingle with marketing masters: Join Activate Summit ’22 for 3 days in San Fran to network with industry experts and gain insight into creating effective marketing moments and meaningful customer connections. Snag early-bird ticket pricing here.*

*This is sponsored advertising content.


Looking to hire the best in the marketing industry? Submit your job openings to our Marketing Brew Job Board!

Today’s featured openings:

See more jobs or post your job opportunities here.


  • NBCUniversal and Google are both contenders to partner with Netflix on its ad-supported tier, people familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal.
  • IPG is partnering with LeBron James’s SpringHill Company for a joint venture that will pair the holding company’s clients with “a range of creators aligned with SpringHill,” from artists to athletes.
  • Mastercard is going deeper on its sonic branding strategy with the debut of an album called Priceless on Spotify.
  • The end of Juul is upon us.


Kantar published its BrandZ Most Valuable Global Brands 2022 ranking this month, and Apple came out on top.

Apple of my eye: Valued at $947.1 billion, the company increased its brand value by 55% from 2021 to 2022, according to Kantar.

  • Google is in second place with a value of $819.6 billion, up 79% from last year.
  • It’s one of the “fastest risers” in the ranking, Kantar said in a statement.
  • Amazon, Facebook, and Alibaba all made the top 10 this year, but each dropped two spots in the rankings from their respective positions last year.

Newcomers: 11 brands made the top 100 list in 2022 that didn’t in 2021, including Target, KFC, Aldi, and Morgan Stanley. Airbnb is among the six brands that found a place on the list for the first time ever.


Dust off your expense reports

Dust off your expense reports

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