Ad Age is reporting on Leo Burnett’s move into virtual reality.
Leo Burnett Worldwide is hoping that setting up shop in a virtual world can improve its real-world results.
The iconic Chicago agency — which has absorbed the losses of long-held, major accounts such as Cadillac and the U.S. Army of late — is opening an “ideas hub” within Second Life, a virtual, three-dimensional, internet-based alternate reality “inhabited” by nearly 800,000 people worldwide.
Second Life in recent years has also been attracting a growing number of marketers, such as ESPN, Adidas and American Apparel, that hawk virtual wares and host brand-boosting events there. But Burnett claims it’s the first ad agency to buy “real estate” within the construct.
Created by San Francisco-based Linden Labs, Second Life lets people create virtual representations of themselves that interact with others, swap ideas and even virtual property.
Chief Creative Officer Mark Tutssel described Burnett’s foray into Second Life as part laboratory and part global water cooler for the agency. “It’s not a virtual agency, but it is a cathedral of ideas,” he said. “It allows our collective creative firepower to come together.”
Burnetters are going to collaborate inside this virtual world? I don’t know if it’s a good idea, but it’s an interesting development. Anyting that facilitates communications across a network of offices is a plus, in my view.