MANILA, PHILIPPINES — The metaverse has everyone talking. As the pandemic changes the way we interact with each other, tech enthusiasts believe that all roads now lead to metaverse, where virtual reality is front and center. In the Philippines, Unilever is already ahead of the curve.
On June 24, Unilever Philippines launched U-COINville, the first metaverse hub in the country. And they launched it in style — at this year’s Travel Tour Expo organized by the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA), signaling the beginning of an age where digital space is the place to be.
“UCOINVille is a destination and we believe that virtual is the way to go. U-COINVille is really a destination and we believe that virtual is the way to go,” Dennis Perez, Digital Marketing, Media and dCommerce (DMC) Lead at Unilever Beauty & Wellbeing Southeast Asia told adobo Magazine.
“When we heard the PTAA Travel Fair, which is always anticipated, we said [this] is perfect. Why don’t we actually launch there? Since we’re marketing it as a destination, like a tourism-themed campaign, it’s just a perfect place to be in,” Dennis added.
U-COINVille has one goal: To bring all of Unilever’s brands together in the virtual realm to enable their consumers to have exciting, immersive, educational, and unique experiences.
The public launch held at SMX Convention Center on June 24 to 26 gave people a first taste of U-COINVille. At Unilever’s airplane-themed booth with guides wearing flight attendant uniforms, guests were asked to register and create their own U-COINVille avatar. With a wide range of skins and clothing that users can choose from, Unilever made sure that the avatars are inclusive and diverse so users can create ones that truly represent them. After creating their U-COINVille character, guests who visited the booth received virtual U-COIN points that they can exchange for real-life rewards and other souvenirs.
Customers at the Travel Tour Expo were later given a tour of U-COINVille’s four key attractions. The first stop was the “U-Marketplace,” a virtual supermarket where people can shop for Unilever products that they love.
“You can see like a futuristic kind of shelves where you can actually purchase our products,” Sharmaine Aquilino, Deos SEA and Personal Care PH Dcommerce Category Planning and Delivery Sr. Assistant Manager said. “U-Marketplace offers an elevated shopping experience for our consumers. You can find 3D renders of Unilever products, futuristic shelves, among other things. All these made shoppable via U-Store, which is our own online retail platform.”
But the fun does not stop there because users can hunt and collect U-COINs, the digital currency that everyone can use in U-COINVille. Customers can accumulate U-COINs by exploring the different virtual hubs at U-COINVille, shopping at U-Marketplace, and completing the missions at the various brand hubs, like Baby Dove Real Moms Village. What’s exciting about learning and earning in U-COINVille is you can redeem your U-COINs for virtual unlockables such as special gifts, secret items and new environments. The best part?
You can also use them IRL in exchange for food, load, credits via ucoin.com.ph, and discounts at ustore.com.ph by exploring the different virtual hubs at U-COINVille, shopping at U-Marketplace, and completing the missions at the various brand hubs, like Baby Dove Real Moms Village. With over 240 digital rewards to choose from, there’s something for everyone to enjoy with U-COIN.
The next major attraction in U-COINVille is U-Home, an area where customers can “learn and play” and customize their virtual home. This is where the U-COINs that users have earned can also come in handy as customers can spend the coins on furniture and other items they need to beautify their U-home.
But of course, what’s a real-life inspired metaverse game without a hub where Unilever brands can hold virtual events? True to U-COINVille’s “learn and play” core, the U-ditorium is the area where users can attend virtual concerts, events, workshops, and more.
And Unilever is preparing more exciting plans for U-ditorium.
“Our vision is to turn U-ditorium as the main event space inside U-COINVille where we can create meaningful, immersive virtual events for our consumers. We want to create accessible and rewarding events for our consumers to enjoy, such as meet and greet with our endorsers, workshops with experts, and more,” Sharmaine added.
“As we progress in this virtual world, we have leveraged the partnerships that Unilever Philippines have established; together with the country’s biggest content provider, Unilever Philippines has partnered with ABS-CBN to have a collaboration like never before. We will be broadcasting (broadcasted) the finale of a trending digital-first series, He’s Into Her; also, a concert from on-ground to U-COINVille; and many more shows coming soon,” she said. “U-ditorium will definitely be a huge step up for us in the way we do events, as we explore the endless possibilities in Web3 and in parallel, build the kind of tech we need to cater to the evolving consumer needs in terms of entertainment.”
Last but not the least, customers can go to U-nli Funpark to play games and earn more U-COINs: “U-nli Fun Park is where we’ll house all the activities that will allow users to play-and-learn to earn U-COIN rewards. It’s like an arcade, but made more educational, immersive, and rewarding.”
Apart from the four main hubs, there are also special ones within U-COINVille that specifically were created by brands.
For instance, Baby Dove has launched a virtual village designed specifically for first-time parents. Inside Baby Dove Real Moms Village, users can visit the Care Café, Care Center, and Village Park where they can participate in different missions that will help them learn how to better care for their babies — all while receiving incentives.
Another exciting example is POND’S Summer Escape, which was launched for users to quite literally experience a virtual summer escape. Users were tasked to look for the key ingredients of POND’S Healthy Hydration products — once they do, they can get skincare tips and rewards.
“People want to make sure that they get value out of new branded experiences they come across with. For UCOINVille, it brings something with purpose and utility rather than just mere creating NFTs and currency that one can collect,” Dennis said.
“We see U-COINVille housing different branded experiences that our consumers can truly enjoy,” Wence Wenceslao, the Digital Hub Lead for Unilever Beauty & Wellbeing Southeast Asia said. “Each immersive experience will provide a new way for consumers to interact and shop for their favorite Unilever products in the metaverse. You can also see more exciting content from our partners, more ways to earn & spend their U-COINs and ultimately, more fun ways for people to interact with the community.”