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Dentsu designs virtual brand characters for metaverse and beyond

Dive Brief:

  • Dentsu Creative, the holding company’s creative network, announced the launch of Dentsu VI, a virtual identity service that provides brands with a virtual face and personality to use across digital platforms, per details shared in an email with Marketing Dive.
  • Powered by CGI specialists from Dentsu Creative Singapore, the service applies gaming and film industry motion capture and streaming technology to create fully customizable virtual identities that can serve as avatars, character skins or non-playable characters in metaverse and gaming environments.
  • Dentsu VI also allows brands to use off-the-peg virtual identities — including its own, Rumi — for short- and mid-term activations in the metaverse. The offering arrives amid growing interest in having digital representation across emerging digital channels.

Dive Insight:

Dentsu Creative’s latest offering seeks to provide brands with a way to present themselves in emerging digital channels like gaming, the metaverse and virtual influencer marketing. The virtual identities designed by Dentsu VI are intended to help brands engage as emotively and personally as they can.

“The lines between the online and offline world are increasingly blurred, and we’re at the tipping point to see the potential of the Metaverse fully realized,” said Fred Levron, global chief creative officer at Dentsu International, in a statement. The executive cited data that the livestreaming market is expected to hit $274 billion by 2027, representing massive scope for brands.

Press materials called out several use-cases for virtual identities, including as product experts and customer experiences representatives in physical stores, on e-commerce platforms or at virtual concerts. They also potentially support long-term brand equity and intellectual property initiatives that could unlock fresh revenue streams, with greater scale and longevity than human ambassadors.

To showcase Dentsu VI, the agency launched its own virtual identity, Rumi, that brands can use now as virtual talent. She has already appeared at various trade events as a speaker and evangelist for learning and innovation around virtual experiences and the metaverse.

The launch comes amid renewed interest in virtual brand representatives. Pacsun this month teamed with Miquela, a top CGI influencer, to support its back-to-school and holiday programs. Similarly, Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes last week partnered with Twitch’s Brand Partnership Studio to transform brand mascot Tony the Tiger into an interactive “VTuber” on the platform. This type of virtual influencer or mascot allows for greater control and brand safety on emerging digital platforms where marketing standards are less defined.

Dentsu VI has been in development since early 2021 by CGI specialists on its Singapore team, which has experience using advanced motion-capture tech to drive real-time performance around film, gaming and sports science. The group also has produced major live events for esports, another growing area of interest and investment from brands.

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