OK, maybe the above title is a little dramatic. Truth is that as Second Life evolves - and it is doing so on a daily basis - we are all going to have to deal with what a virtual world is, what is means to us mere mortals and, most importantly, how are Marketers and companies going to deal with this?
American Apparel has taken a huge (and interesting) leap by opening a store in Second Life where Avatars (aka Residents) can purchase American Apparel clothing. The store is modeled after American Apparel's Tokyo outlet.
"Part of the fun of the game is creating characters to look like a model of yourself or to become something fantastic, like monsters or robots or pixies," said American Apparel Web Director Raz Schionning in the article American Apparel Opens In-game Store from iMedia Connection. "People like us for what we stand for, so they'll have the chance to dress their characters in our clothes."
It's important to note that the article title is off. Second Life is not a game. It is a virtual environment where people meet, build relationships, purchase property, socialize and do business. The name defines what it is: your Second Life.
American Apparel is looking into Second Life-exclusive promotions for real-world discounts and are leveraging the popularity for new PR. Best guess is that American Apparel is not going to make their Second Life store a line in their year-end. This is for promotions and marketing. American Apparel is aligning itself with their demographic and where they live. Whether it's in this life... or Second Life.
Next up is a more than worthy read from Jeremy Pepper over at POP! PR Jots with the Blog posting: Trademark Issues In Second Life. Turns out people are creating and selling clothing like Adidas t-shirts for Avatars to wear. Sure, the promotion is great for Adidas, but as Second Life builds to critical mass, how long will a company like Adidas allow people to create, sell and make real-world dollars on their brand, regardless of the free promotion?
Pepper then ends off by pondering what will happen when someone opens the first Starbucks in Second Life? Check out what Linden Labs (the creators of Second Life) had to say by reading Pepper's post here: Trademark Issues In Second Life.
I find it challenging to write about Second Life because of all the possibilities it offers us from a social and business perspective. Last night, as I was exploring (Mitch Till is me), I ran into Divo Dapto (aka Joseph Jaffe) and we checked out Adam Curry's castle as well as another room that had mood boards on display. Here's what Divo Dapto said: "imagine pitching clients in here."