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THE METAVERSE

Did Heineken just launch the world’s least satisfying beer?

By our News Team | 2022

As the metaverse continues to interest and confuse consumers, beer brand Heineken has launched a tongue-in-cheek virtual beer to capitalise on the hype.

Brands are rushing to make sense of the much-talked-about metaverse and what it may mean in terms of future marketing, branding and sales strategies.

But not all companies, it seems, are taking this brave new virtual world as seriously as others. Global beer giant Heineken is one such example.

At a recent press launch it claimed to have created the world’s first virtual beer within the metaverse. Which, given that the metaverse is a world that doesn’t exist except through virtual-reality headsets and similar technology, presumably makes for a fairly tasteless and not particularly refreshing beer-drinking experience!

The Metaverse

Poking fun at itself and other brands, Heineken has launched a ‘virtual beer’. Photo credit: Heineken

Heineken agreed, telling the slightly bewildered journalists at the launch – which was held at a virtual brewery – that the beer was being brewed with “binary-coded hops grown by NPC (non-player character) farmers”. The company added that the new product was a weight-watchers’ delight in that it had “no calories, no hidden ingredients and no beer”.

Even the launch-event refreshments were virtual 

Attendees were also able to dine on ‘pixilated lobster and caviar’ and interact with Heineken brand ambassadors, such as soccer coach and former Arsenal star Thierry Henry (who is, fortunately, a real-life person).

Bram Westenbrink, global head of brand for Heineken, cleared up the confusion by saying: “Our new virtual beer, Heineken Silver is an ironic joke. It is a self-aware idea that pokes fun at us and many other brands that are jumping into the metaverse with products that are best enjoyed in the real world.”

Reporting on the event, the industry website Marketing Dive, observed that Heineken Silver “was created to be a sarcastic activation that leans into the hype around the metaverse and virtual goods, while still drumming up brand buzz”.

According to the BBC, the hype around the metaverse began when Facebook rebranded to Meta in October last year and Mark Zuckerberg outlined his vision of inter-connected virtual worlds where people would work and play. “Increasingly, brands are investing in virtual worlds and goods,” it reported.

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