The metaverse is going full glam this summer with the first-ever Metaverse Beauty Week, a five-day festival rallying together a slew of beauty brands for in-person events and virtual activations across platforms Roblox, Decentraland and Spatial.
The festival, founded by creative agency Cult, is slated for June 12-16, with three days of the week dedicated to metaverse experiences and additional activities being hosted in London and New York. Cult, for over a decade, has worked in the beauty, luxury and fashion sector, and with its forthcoming event hopes to better establish the beauty category’s role in the emerging Web3 landscape.
“We want consumers to experience beauty in a way like never before,” said Daisy Haywood, creative brand manager at Cult. “The premise of our messaging is that it’s time for beauty to have a reset.”
Metaverse Beauty Week was inspired by a similar event, Metaverse Fashion Week, hosted by Decentraland. The fashion-forward event was launched in 2022 and returned for a second year last month. In its first year, the event attracted over 60 brands, including Estée Lauder, which was brought on as the exclusive beauty partner.
Looking to create something similar for the beauty industry, Cult, which isn’t tied to Decentraland’s fashion event, began brainstorming its week-long festival last September. Flash forward to today, and the agency is preparing to unveil the event’s full roster on May 16.
“We saw what was happening in the metaverse, we saw what happened with Metaverse Fashion Week, and we were like, ‘Where’s beauty sitting in all of this?,’” said Wendy Blanton, growth officer at Cult. “Not only that, but how can we tell a story with beauty in the metaverse space that can sometimes be limited in the physical world?”
While much of the plans for Roblox, Decentraland and Spatial are yet to be revealed, users attending the festival can expect a main plaza on each platform connecting them with various participating brands. Many experiences are meant to be gamified, including treasure hunts, try-ons and NFT wearables. Non-player characters will be active in the spaces to assist.
Spanning efforts across Decentraland, Roblox and Spatial dovetails with a larger goal for the event around accessibility, Blanton said. For example, the agency realizes that Decentraland may be easier to access for some than others, while 3D social platform Spatial provides an advantage for being accessible by web browser. Roblox could help attract younger consumers, namely Gen Z and Gen Alpha, who are more likely drawn to gamified experiences.
“For me, I think it is about being able to reach as wide of an audience as possible and bring them into our way of thinking,” said Blanton.
A focus on accessibility with cross-platform activations like Metaverse Beauty Week is indicative of the way forward, Blanton predicts, adding that she expects to see similar efforts multiply. However, as the metaverse continues to mature beyond a budding concept, strategizing the event months in advance has come with challenges like coordinating across time zones and working across decentralized platforms that may not have a key decision maker.
Bridging the gap
A focus of Metaverse Beauty Week is ensuring that traditional aspects of beauty buying, like smelling a perfume or sampling a product, aren’t lost. For example, while smelling something within the metaverse is impossible, brands marketing fragrances could rely on feelings associated with a scent, emphasizing senses like sight and sound versus smell, similar to how fragrance has traditionally been marketed. Some gamification elements will also award users with items that can be sent directly to them.
Aside from metaverse experiences, the beauty week will also include in-person pop-ups in New York on June 13 and in London on June 15-16 to harbor additional activations, with the agenda expected to include panel-style discussions and augmented reality showcases, among other features. Consumers can sign up for email updates through the festival’s designated landing page or follow along on social media.
Following the event, Cult will share metrics with brands that participated in metaverse activations, including the number of attendees, time spent by users in the space and overall sentiment. Such findings could help beauty brands gain a better understanding of how to communicate value within the space and inform future moves. A number of beauty brands are already experimenting with the metaverse generally, including Clinique, Maybelline and L’Oreal Professionnel.
In addition to helping brands build know-how, Metaverse Beauty Week could also help further the conversation around what constitutes a successful metaverse activation, as some point to the number of attendees and others to time spent in experiences and repeat visits, metrics that each tell a different story. For example, Metaverse Fashion Week this year saw a large drop in users, down from 108,000 in 2022 to just 26,000 in 2023, which could indicate signs that the concept isn’t resonating. However, some participating brands reported meaningful engagement. Ben Bridge, for example, saw consumer time spent in its space average 14 minutes.
For Metaverse Beauty Week, Blanton and her team, while looking to be accessible to as many consumers as possible, are focusing most heavily on creating experiences that warrant visitors to stay awhile.
“If you went to an event, if we were taking this to old school marketing and it was an in-real-life event — and someone walked in and turned around and walked out, that’s worse for you than if they spent, three minutes, six minutes, 10 minutes at the event,” Blanton said. “In gaming, I would say the more important metric is how long they’re spending in the game.”
Additional conversation that could stem from the event is around diversity and representation in a space that has typically lagged behind, Haywood said, noting that such storytelling experiences have also been largely absent from the metaverse in its early stages. With the festival, Cult intentionally sought out partnerships meant to empower underrepresented and emerging talent in the space.
“Representation has really lacked in beauty until recent years, it’s gotten a lot more diverse, but I think this festival is an amazing opportunity to truly celebrate all people in really meaningful ways,” Haywood said.