Heineken, Miller Lite look to capitalize on metaverse and crypto buzz

Metaverse hype has reached a full crescendo in the past few months, and marketing teams at major companies across the globe are all trying to decipher what the metaverse ultimately means for their brands. While there are plenty of virtual experiences for consumers to enjoy online (with or without AR or VR headsets), there is no single, unified metaverse. What that means for brands is choosing a platform that makes sense for them. For two leading beer brands – Heineken and Miller Lite – that choice recently was crypto-based Decentraland.

Miller Lite kicked things off ahead of February’s Super Bowl by launching the “Meta Lite Bar” in Decentraland. As in real life, the bar was limited to visitors over the age of 21. Miller offered virtual pilsners, Miller Lite NFT swag for registered Decentraland users with a crypto wallet, and other interactive features. The virtual space was also leveraged as the only place that Miller enthusiasts could see the brand’s Big Game ad.

Miller believes a metaverse experience can foster a greater attachment to their products in the real world as well. “We’re using our Meta Lite Bar to encourage real-life hangouts over real-life beer by giving guests a chance to score their stock of game-day Miller Lite on us. Now, you and your avatar can enjoy Miller Time with friends,” said Sofia Colucci, global VP of Miller family of brands.

Heineken’s approach was far more lighthearted, as the brand decided to take a jab at the corporate metaverse push. Upon launching its virtual beer, Heineken Silver, alongside a virtual DJ and dancers dressed in Heineken gear in Decentraland, the company remarked that its latest campaign was “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… For now, you can’t taste pixels and bytes. So, we want to make a joke about that and remind everyone that nothing beats the taste of a refreshing beer, including our new virtual Heineken Silver, in the real world.”

Heineken and Miller are likely just the beginning of the alcohol industry’s attempt to leverage the metaverse. Decentraland and fellow crypto-based world The Sandbox have seen numerous non-endemic brands enter their worlds, including Coca-Cola, Sotheby’s, Domino’s, Adidas, Nike, and many more. For the beer sector, as ironic as Heineken’s stunt may have been, it may have resonated with the crypto crowd, as Interpret’s New Media Measure® shows the brand among the top five beer brands purchased by crypto users in the past week. On the flip side, the Miller family of brands did not crack the top 10 beer choices among crypto users in the US. Regardless, we can expect lots more metaverse marketing exploits in the coming months.