Saturday, March 29, 2008

Brussels Airlines: Subtle and Smart

Hundreds of companies are trying to understand the Metaverse and find a use for 3D environments that has meaning to their business. Most of them have failed... for now.

Last year I stumbled upon the website and blog B-Places, which basically is a guide to the toprated places in Second Life. Second Life residents rate the places they've visited and the website shows the sims to visit. An excellent move, even more so if you know that B-Places is powered by Brussels Airlines, a Belgian airliner.

The B-Places formula fits neatly into the corporate communications which uses the B-.... terminology a lot (see inset of b-flex economy) and what do you do when you're an airliner and get down to the Metaverse?

Exactly, an airline's core business is to bring people from place to place. In the virtual world however, you don't need transportation. You can just teleport. Airliners have become obsolete. Yet Brussels Airlines knows that bringing people from place to place is just a means to a goal. It is actually about people going to destinations. So if you can't do the transportation part, focus on the destinations. That's exactly what the B-Places directory does.

Here's a short promovid on YouTube:

Here's a snapshot of the website:

Toprated places in Second Life are the Botanical Gardens, but also Rezzable's Greenies and the Caribbean are among the citizens favorites. To me this is a very succesful and creative way to experiment with virtual worlds. It isn't outright branding, but subtle and smart.

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