Metaverse, Sustainability and Representation: the Challenges our Industry will Face in the Immediate Future

Metaverse, Sustainability and Representation: the Challenges our Industry will Face in the Immediate Future

Advertising Week Europe #AWE2022 returned live to London last May bringing together participants from the creative industry. New trends and fresh ideas were discussed during the event, but there was a special spot for challenges in these exchanges. Which are the biggest ones the advertising industry will face in the future?

One of the most commented was metaverse, a reality that is increasingly materialising in the digital environment and offers a new world of possibilities for marketing. The discussions on the metaverse during AWE2022 came to a clear conclusion. If marketers want to enter it, video games are a great reference. Although gaming and the metaverse are two elements with their own particularities, the creative approach is very similar, since they are two worlds based on the immersion of the user in a new reality.

“Gaming really has been providing the foundational experiences and expectations of what you are going to find in the metaverse”, remarked Frameplay CEO Jonathon Troughton.

Sustainability was also very present during the event, as it is a concern that many consumers have. According to Brian Murphy, senior VP and buyer development at OpenX, “if the internet itself were a country, it would be the third largest country in terms of global carbon emissions”. This pressing situation places a responsibility on marketers to rethink the formats in which they produce. For example, a video ad can have double the carbon emissions of a display.

At the same time, the statistics reflect very interesting data on the level of awareness that customers demand from the industry. 45% of consumers are willing to buy more from companies that care about the environment. On the other hand, 68% of consumers across Europe believe it’s important that companies implement programmes to improve the environment, and 73% of millennials are willing to pay more for sustainable items.

It is therefore very important for the industry to identify these needs in order to match users’ expectations.

The importance of diversity was also a transversal issue in many discussions. The numbers don’t look good: people who have felt excluded at work because of their beliefs, circumstances or identity: 41% in 2021 (up from 33% in 2020) and those who are registered disabled (44%), neurodiverse (45%) or have had a diagnosis of a mental illness (36%) are the most likely to feel they have been passed over for a job or promotion because of their circumstances.

“This isn’t a thing that’s going to be solved by HR. We all have to play a part and be active on this issue. It’s so huge that it can be easy to think you can’t do anything about it, but allyship is a good place to start”, pointed out Kathryn Jacob, CEO of Pearl & Dean.

One of the main conclusions of these talks was that it is essential to leave spaces for storytellers who are creatives in underrepresented places to make them visible and bring their realities closer to the industry.

You can read the full report here