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Brief Published: 15 Sep 2021

Vans’ Roblox Metaverse Sells Fans Digital Skate Gear

Building on pandemic-popularised virtual brandscapes, US skate brand Vans is making its first foray into metaverse marketing with Vans World. Built in American co-creation gaming platform Roblox, which boasts 43.2 million daily active users, it features playable skateparks and stores that let players view, customise and purchase digital shoes, skateboards and apparel.

Built by Swedish Roblox community developers The Gang, Vans World bridges the online/IRL (in real life) gap with spaces inspired by IRL skateparks, including House of Vans (London) and Vans Off The Wall (California).

Aiming to prolong engagement, Vans World rewards players with points for doing tricks, which they can use to upgrade their skater’s abilities. Daily free digital goods and skate-themed in-game challenges also incentivise players to stick around.

In the Vans World store, fans can purchase exclusive clothing, shoes and gear for their avatars, including four customisable shoe models. Certain items (including customised footwear) must be purchased with Robux, Roblox’s in-game currency. Aside from the customisable shoes, all virtual items can be worn elsewhere in Roblox. Cementing metaverse/IRL connections, physical counterparts of much of the digital apparel are available to buy on Vans’ e-commerce site. 

Users can also ‘meet’ an avatar of Vans’ CEO (chief entertainment officer, in this instance) Steve Van Doren (son of legendary founder Paul Van Doren, who passed away in May 2021), who can be found running a waffle stand in a nod to Vans’ waffle-like soles.

Earlier this year, Gucci launched a branded space in Roblox and sold a virtual handbag for $4,115 through the platform – substantially more than its IRL counterpart (see The Brief).

For more, read The Metaverse Opportunity and Virtual Flagships.

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