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25 April 2022

A world-changing opportunity 

Ivona Ivanova, a graduate of the Brixton Finishing School, on how the metaverse could be a tool for a better world

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

‘Your brands can change the world for the better, but not with a business-as-usual approach,’ said Ivona Ivanova at Contagious’ Worlds Collide event this week. Ivanova is a graduate of the Brixton Finishing School, which was founded to disrupt conventional hiring practices in marketing and promote more diversity in the industry.

We all know the benefits of a diverse workforce. Diverse teams make better decisions, companies with more gender, racial and ethnic diversity perform better financially, and brands that reflect the diversity of their audience build stronger connections with consumers. Brixton Finishing School develops and fosters untapped talent with a free 10-week programme for 18-25-year-olds, offering them real-world advertising experience.

On Thursday 31 March, Contagious gathered expert speakers for a half-day session on the Metaverse, to examine what it means for brands, agencies and audiences. ‘We talk about metaverse as a piece of technology,’ said Ivanova. ‘But we should be framing it as an experience.’

It’s easy to be sceptical about something that has not yet been defined, but Ivanova called attention to the opportunities and potential of a space that is (so far) not controlled by a single entity or business. ‘It’s more democratic,’ she explained. ‘The user calls the shots.’ With millions of people coming together to define and shape this new world, there are implications for the real world, too.

NFT (non-fungible tokens) sales have been raised to support causes in Ukraine, for example. The country’s Ministry of Digital Transformation tweeted out crypto wallet codes to enable Ukraine to accept donations in the form of Bitcoin and Ethereum, before minting 54 ‘Museum of War’ NFT artworks to raise money to fight against the Russian invasion. The metaverse could be a ‘virtual incubator for new political frameworks in the world,’ argued Ivanova. ‘The metaverse can be a tool for a better world. It comes down to us to decide on the world we want to create next.’

Speaking after the event, Jonathan Acton, head of creative delivery at Clear Channel UK, said: ‘Having endured two years of lockdowns, I’m more than happy to be present in the real world, rather than the virtual. But, I’m excited to see how virtual dimensions can layer with physical reality – we’ve already seen brand successfully merge outdoor media with AR experiences, but in the future these interactions will be much, much deeper.’

Discover how brands are pushing creative boundaries in Out of Home here

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