It’s been a busy year for the marketing team at Linden Lab. The year 2020 began smoothly with several new ambitious campaigns and promotional initiatives for Second Life as detailed in our March 3 post “The Heart & Science of Second Life Marketing”.
Among the highlights shared in that post and discussed the same week in “Lab Gab” were early-year marketing strategies and accomplishments in:
- Paid/Performance Marketing - There was a complete refresh of our paid display ad campaigns and dozens of new video ads debuted, as well as improved ad targeting technologies.
- Organic, Social Media & Influencer Marketing - We debuted or expanded original social video programming initiatives (“Lab Gab,” etc.), overhauled our new user tutorial videos, and grew the Second Life Blogger Network to more than 550 participants.
The Pandemic Effect - New User & Enterprise/Education Growth
Then, the pandemic hit and it quickly became apparent that the outbreak would have a dramatic impact on the lives of just about everyone in the world (virtual or otherwise). While the marketing team continued to execute on most of its original 2020 marketing plans, it was also clear that there would be some significant changes including a shift in messaging and tone for some of our campaigns. Thus, several new “comfort campaigns” were launched to better emphasize the promise of peace, joy and socialization in Second Life.
These “comfort campaigns” were a hit, bringing in thousands of new residents at a lower cost than we’ve seen in years. The success of this campaign spawned several other variations along with a community focused approach with similar messaging and tailored visual creatives.
The media took notice, too. A new wave of mainstream media coverage emerged in 2020 including prominent articles in The Telegraph, Wired, Mashable, VICE, Business Insider, Elle, FRANCE 24, Le Figaro, CBC, Billboard, Le Monde, and many other global outlets.
Further, we saw growth from the enterprise and education sectors as several organizations began to re-conceptualize their annual business gatherings or conferences due to the pandemic. In the past few months, Second Life has hosted prominent conferences and events for Museweb (covering innovative uses of technology in museums), Gen Con (one of the largest tabletop gaming conferences), IndieCade (an independent gaming convention), Dutch Design Week (covering the convergence of art, fashion, and design), the International Pineapple Association (a trade show for the pineapple industry), CODAsummit (an art and technology conference), and the Oral History Association (an annual academic conference for oral historians).
We’ve also seen several media and entertainment companies use Second Life as a replacement for public or private events impacted by the pandemic. Instead of a real-world screening event, Adult Swim held a world premiere event for its show “The Shivering Truth” in Second Life. During the event a themed virtual movie theater was created that matched the aesthetics of the show. Attendees could be among the first to watch two episodes before they debuted on the cable network while interacting with some of the creators and crew. There was also limited-edition virtual swag to further get fans excited.
Another example is our partnership with the independent animation studio Titmouse (“Star Trek: Lower Decks”, “Star Wars: Galaxy of Adventures”) which moved its infamous annual Smash Party to the virtual world so that partygoers could interact and socialize safely from home this year since the physical party was impacted by the pandemic. As part of the event, the virtual party space included lots of interactive surprises and elements to entertain the attendees including a virtual “smash cage,” red carpet arrival area, free branded virtual giveaways and virtual food trucks that enabled guests to order real food for home delivery during the event. There were also random and hidden “Easter egg” events that would be triggered to keep things even more interesting.
Other well-known media and brand partnerships are in the works for 2021, too.
Second Life Book Club & Music Mondays
Among the other noteworthy new initiatives launched in 2020 were the Second Life Book Club and Music Mondays.
Since its launch in April, the Second Life Book Club continues to feature leading and emerging authors each week and the publishing industry is starting to take note. Producer Draxtor Despres reports that the show is already pre-booked for most of 2021! In addition, publishers are also starting to coordinate signed book giveaways and other promotions associated with the show.
Music Mondays has also gained traction via weekly editorial coverage that highlights the many talented independent musicians of Second Life. Over 25 musicians have already been profiled with several more already in the queue for 2021.
Second Life Merchandise Store
We also launched the Official Second Life Merchandise Store, available through RedBubble. The store offers Second Life and Linden Lab branded clothing and accessories, with a very inclusive range of sizes. The past year even includes some limited-edition holiday items for Halloween and the winter season.
Brand Refresh & 2021 Commercial Campaign
In 2020, we also gave a slight refresh to the Second Life logo as we retired the soft green color in favor of bright blue to reflect the boundless energy of our residents who create amazing content and experiences.
You’ll start to see the new look and colors across many of our 2021 campaigns including our first broadcast-quality commercial. Speaking of which, how about a “first look” behind the scenes of the forthcoming spot?
2021...HERE WE COME!
While we are happy to put 2020 behind us, the marketing team at Linden Lab is looking forward to launching many exciting new campaigns and partnerships in 2021 that we believe will broaden the audience of Second Life even further.
Happy Holidays from all of us at Linden Lab!