- Jimmy John’s and Pizza Hut have joined others in the restaurant category and dipped their toes into the meta version, according to separate press releases emailed to Marketing Dive.
- Pizza chain Yum Brands debuted the concept at ComplexLand, a virtual shopping experience that runs May 25-27. The company teamed up with artist Rob Shields to design custom delivery vehicles, delivery driver avatars, and nine non-fungible tokens (NFTS) that embody cyberpunk themes. Skeleton drivers will be accepting entries for a chance to win one of the NFTs, each of which will unlock a year of free pizza.
- Jimmy John’s collaborated with Anomaly to create an interactive version of the restaurant in Decentraland. There, users can create their own “Metasandwich,” which can be ordered for real-world pickup and submitted for review to become an actual menu item for a limited time. Both activations show how marketers are focusing on incorporating rewards into their metaverse experiments as the novelty of digital experiences begins to wear off.
Jimmy John’s and Pizza Hut’s initial forays into the metaversion step by simply running a virtual activation to instead offer tangible incentives for consumers to show up. As the metaverse has reached industry buzzword status in the past year, marketing efforts have expanded but also dissipated. .
At the same time, assets adjacent to the meta, such as NFTs and cryptocurrencies, have fallen in value, meaning there could be another uphill battle to attract interest in the current environment. A promise of free pizza for a year or adding a personalized sandwich order to the menu for a limited time can help win over skeptics. Setting up shop in the digital realm also opens up advantages that might be more difficult in real life.
For example, when making Jimmy John’s Metasandwiches, users can add “secret ingredients” such as crackers without being stared at by fellow diners. In addition, Decentraland restaurants offer exclusive promo codes and access to Jimmy John’s merchandise. Custom sandwiches can be submitted until May 22nd for consideration. The winning idea will be delivered to the first 100 people who order it between May 31 and June 3, Jimmy John’s said.
Pizza Hut is building on the hype surrounding the existing event metaverse with ComplexLand, a commercially-focused experience entering its third year. Hosted by publisher Complex this year, the free online gathering will allow for first-person exploration and feature an NFT gallery curated by virtual influencer Lil Mique. Pizza Hut has expanded its cyberpunk-inspired delivery vehicles and accompanying drivers to various locations throughout the space, mirroring how the brand might be promoted at a real-world pop-up or festival.
Recent metaverse activations from the restaurant category have proven popular. Wendy’s launched a “Wendyverse” effort in March where consumers could tour a virtual restaurant at Horizon Worlds, a virtual reality platform owned by Meta. It has reached 52 million users, Meta executives said.
While the metaverse strategy is still being fine-tuned, the intended audience is clear. Pizza Hut cited a recent study by Vice Media Group and Razorfish that found Gen Zers spend twice as much time interacting socially in the metaverse than in real life.