Anomaly Leaves Second Life

Yes, I can announce that the Anomaly avatars have left the building … their “Company HQ” in the Tenjin sim has been vacated. Unbeknownst to many (they didn’t talk about it much) Anomaly were actually fairly early adopters of Second Life. They bought a plot (near to PSFK Island, as it ‘appens) back in 2005 I think. If they called themselves an Ad Agency, they could probably claim to be the first to have built an office in this part of the metaverse. I discussed it briefly with Anomaly partner Johnny Vulkan, who by that stage was fairly dismissive of the opportunities the virtual world offered marketers. Their only client to venture in to Second Life was Enviga (against Anomaly’s advice). Enviga eventually built a large green Enviga-drinking robot in Anomaly HQ and left it at that.

anomaly

Purple pundit Piers Fawkes of PSFK (indulge me in my aliteration) was also eventually underwhelmed by Second Life. Anomaly neighbour and virtual pioneer Piers at one stage referred to himself as a “big time property developer” and “marketing consultant” in Second Life. He was quoted some time later as saying that “Second Life [wasn’t] much good for marketers“, presumably something he had learnt from experience. That said, his (rather ramshackle looking, slightly vandalised) virtual island HQ remains.

psfk-second-life

Who else is left? Crayon’s slightly stalinist-looking and underpopulated sim (traffic count: 32) remains. Crayon claimed to be the first agency to launch in Second Life (and indeed, the launch itself was actually held there). To my knowledge Crayon’s only Second Life client engagement was Coke’s Virtual Thirst, an effort which received mixed reviews at best.

crayonville

Leo Burnett at one stage built a giant tree (replete with caged birds and apples) but they have now also departed. Their space was apparently envisioned as a place for international collaboration.

burnett-sl

BBH built a (rather bland looking) office back in 2006 – also claiming to be the “first” – and said office for the moment is still there. It actually looks fairly well maintained, if unevolved and sterile. The only evidence of client involvement is a rather large Levi’s poster.

bbh-second-life

My views on marketing through Second Life? Well, I’d start by saying “don’t knock it until you’ve tried it”. There seems to be a dichotomy between those who piled in to Second Life without thinking it through particularly well (net result: lots of money spent and little to show) and those who rejected it out of hand (net result: nothing spent and nothing learned).

As with any marketing experience, success depends on objectives. Want to reach a lot of people quickly? Second Life probably isn’t for you. Want to reach and connect with tech-savvy 30-something virtual world enthusiasts (hey, someone might) then it might make sense.

Thoughts?

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Virtual or Actual: What’s Your Reality?

“Uncanny valley theory” refers to a gap in emotional response to humanoid robots and CGI characters. There’s a point where people feel creeped out by near-realistic human fakes when they take on an almost real but not-quite-right look. Think corpses, or zombies.That valley may have been crossed by computer graphics company Image Metrics. They’ve recently released a mind blowing video sample that demonstrates their new facial animation technology. In a nutshell, they record movements of a human actor, and can replicate and control facial micro-movements down to the pixel.
This Kidnapping Is For Real
A North Carolina woman is facing attempted kidnapping charges for driving to Delaware and trying to take her former Second Life companion at gunpoint. Kimberly Jernigan met her internet significant other in person a few months ago, after which the “victim” in this situation ended their relationship. Apparently, this sent poor Jernigan into a downward spiral, and after her first kidnapping at gunpoint attempt was laughed at, she posed as a US Postal worker to get his new address, broke into his home, bound and gagged his dog in the bathroom, and greeted him at the front door with a laser-sighted BB gun. After seeing the red dot appear on his chest when he walked inside, the victim immediately fled and called the police. His dog was unharmed, and the cops picked up Jernigan on the freeway sometime later. She is currently facing charges of attempted kidnapping, burglary, and aggravated menacing.

Seconds Out For Second Life Marketing?

Mother’s Feature, Russian Priapism, Third Act

Links for 2008-03-04 : Graffiti On Demand, Second Life Art

Links for 2008-01-28 : Virtual vs Reality, Mac Owners, Dunkin’ Video, Steve Jobs Says, Brand Experiences, Cyberwarfare