Second Life Tour

25 Oct 2006

I’ve been collecting some news items about Second Life to use them in a presentation, and I figured I might as well line them up here too because it’s an attempt to capture the situation as it is today. I realize that this post will only be a snapshot of the moment, but I needed a list of ‘things that happened’ in Second Life for myself so I’d no longer have to remember them by heart. It’s also becoming quite impossible to refer to all the known cases of companies that have started something in the virtual world because it’s growing out of its proportions. So, here goes the run-down of the remarkable things that happened:

News in and from Second Life:

Reuters opened the Reuters Atrium, on their website ( they feature in-game news, as well as the stock exchange rates from the Linden Dollar (the in-game currency). Adam Pasick, a veteran tech and media journalist goes in Second Life by the nickname of Adam Reuters and acts as Reuters’ bureau chief.

Reuters Header
Reuters Atrium
Reuters Island

More info

It’s not that Reuters was the first to bring news from Second Life into real life. The Second Life Herald was doing that already. But they didn’t have the island with the huge buildings. Still. They were first.

Second Life Herald

Check out this site.

C|Net launched its virtual alter-ego which lookes a lot like the real-life building and includes an amphitheater, office space and attractive outdoor patio. The space will be used for a series of interviews with virtual-world luminaries, and as a forum for C|NET reporters to come and talk about stories they’ve written. Over time, however, C|NET hopes the space can be used for reviewers to talk about products they’ve tested, as well as for any number of multimedia projects, including the posting of CNET videos, meet-ups and other events.

C|Net amphiteater 1
C|Net amphiteater 2
C|Net Offices

More info

Clothing brands and their stores:

Adidas opened a store on a private island in early September. The huge complex includes a dome that projects a branded video clip, a few billboards, and an orange ‘test-your-shoes’ trampoline to demonstrate the ‘bouncy’ positioning. Avatars who wear Adidas shoes can jump to the sky through the script that came with the sneakers.

Adidas Store 1
Adidas Store 2
Adidas Store 3

More info

Reebok’s store is an SL extension of RBK Custom campaign. Visitors can customize their sneakers as well. Reebok island is a bit too much like a real-life mirror. It features a desolate city and an empty parking lot. The streets have names of the Reebokly-branded people like ‘50 Cent Lane’ and ‘Mauresmo Drive’, and the store has a classic Second Life look and feel. Spacy, stylish and designy. The basketball courts on the island are (obviously) branded with logos, but since I’ve been there four times and always was alone, it’s kind of hard to play the game. The store only sells blank sneakers, but does offer them in different sizes. You can take them to the coloring machines and customize them to your own taste.

Reebok Island 1
Reebok Island 2
Reebok Island 3
Reebok Island 4

More info

American Apparel was the first actual clothing brand to take the step to Second Life. The building is based on the fashion label’s Tokyo showroom. The sleek, mostly glass structure is shaped like two stacked boxes, and features lighting that changes at virtual nightfall. The few times I visited this store, more than a dozen people were checking out the clothing. That’s very cool. There’s a lot of life here, which is very good for the brand.

American Apparel 1
American Apparel 2
American Apparel 3

More info

Advertising Agencies in Second Life:

Bartle Bogle Hegarty’s (BBH) office is also located on a separate island. A small chill-out area at the entrance of the block invites restless minds to come at ease, the “offices” are on the right and there’s also a conference room with a media screen that would most likely play either promotional ads or video clips. All the structures are roofless, which makes it very inviting to visit and explore.


More info

Leo Burnett’s Creative Hub. An apple tree with a coming soon note. For a few weeks already. Much ado about nothing so far. A lot of press buzz for a storm in a glass of water. Being first is one thing. Having a ‘coming soon’ sign up for a few weeks is another. The apples are ripe. Time to harvest.

Leo Burnett

VIA launched their agency in Midnight City on the ground floor of what seems to be a locked-down office building. Only level 0 is accessible and some office furniture has been placed around the one-room office to create the illusion that sometimes people come there to work. In sharp contrast to BBH, this tiny office actually has a more realistic look and feel than the bombastic buildings on private islands, far away from the people. These guys are just ad guys, having a blast across the lingerie store, like normal ad guys do.


More info

Audio, Artists & Other Goodies:

On the C|Net island Regina Spektor, the New York singer and pianist, now has a virtual spot. You can listen to almost all new tracks from her upcoming album (I listened to at least 5). The setting is cozy, jazzy, loungy… there’s some soft red lights that create a relaxing atmosphere. Perfect for prelistening the tunes. You can’t buy any merchandising though. Just a nice experience, but you can’t take it with you.

Regina Spektor 1
Regina Spektor 2

You know it wouldn’t take that long before someone would introduce voice chatting in Second Life. Vivox did it. You can make free phone calls and talk to friends in the game. All you have to do is sign up for an account, download Vivox Second Phone, install it and run SL again.

Vivox Ad

Get Vivox

Starwood aloft hotel became the first company in history to open a new hotel brand inside of a virtual world. Prior to opening to the public in 2008, aloft hotels will offer a sneak preview inside of Second Life, giving visitors an in-depth insiders view of how a virtual hotel is created.

aloft 1
aloft 2
aloft 3
aloft 4

More info | aloft SL blog | BusinessWeek | Hotel Review

Sun Microsystems opened a pavillion and launched its presence in SL by holding the first ‘in-world’ press conference by a Fortune 500 company on October 10th. Sun Chief Researcher John Gage, appeared in avatar form and discussed the purpose and goals of Sun’s foray into Second Life. He addressed the opportunities for experimentation with new forms of communication, collaboration and economic activity in the virtual world. Chris Melissinos, Sun’s chief gaming officer, also spoke during the event.

Sun Microsystems 1
Sun Microsystems 2

Sun’s Press Release

Toyota has entered the virtual world as the first automotive advertiser, dropping their Scion all around the grid of Second Life so users could drive it around and interact with it. A full launch is planned for late October, when SL citizens will be able to customize Scion models. Makes sense, considering Scion already lets buyers do a fair amount of customization on real-world cars.

Scion Launch

More info | Lots of pictures

IBM experimented with real-live data updates from Wimbledon. They didn’t rebuild the arena, but simulated the entire event. RSS hubs could be touched and then showed the RSS data from the website.


Read more about this proof-of-concept

Update: Yesterday night (the 24th), Nissan launched in Second Life. Nissan has brought in one of the characters from the ad campaign, who in SL is known as Toast Alicious. Toast is, yes, a piece of toast. To get a free car, you have to find his avatar, or if that’s too much work, search for “Toast Alicious” and send him an Instant Message. Nissan has put down a massive vending machine on their location, now where did I leave my giant coins?

Nissan Vending Machine

Read more | via Adrants

Future Plans:

Amazon CTO Werner Vogels revealed that a group of Amazon engineers is looking at ways to use Amazon Web services to bridge Amazon with Second Life. According to a comment by Vogels at the virtual-worlds blog, it’s not an official project. But it’s no secret that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is an investor in Second Life creator Linden Lab.


GM’s Pontiac division is the next mainstream company to join the one million strong Second Life community with the creation of the soon to be launched Motorati Island where residents can engage all kinds of automotive-related projects such as the construction of racetracks and dealerships where the Pontiac Solstice will be on display.


This Thursday (in Second Life), Jaffe Juice will officially launch “crayon – a new marketing company”. Stay tuned for updates about that. []

A sneak preview of the Crayon Island:

Crayon Island




Posted by Miel Van Opstal in Uncategorized


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  1. Privacy 2.0 » Blog Archiv » Second Life Tour

    October 25, 2006 at 11:45 am

    [...] Coolz0r – Marketing Thoughts gibt einen interessanten Einblick in Second Life. [...]

  2. Ramas. » links for 2006-10-25

    October 25, 2006 at 4:24 pm

    [...] » Second Life Tour – Coolz0r – Marketing Thoughts Un Tour de Second Life… nada más chéquense la cantidad de marcas que existen en ese mundo virtual. (tags: secondlife marcas comunidades) [...]

  3. Giff Constable

    October 25, 2006 at 5:20 pm

    Nice round up! I’m glad you caught Electric Sheep projects Reuters, Starwood, Nissan… you might also check out Sony BMG’s presence on the Media sim. Our projects have been a fun one too, although this has been more about events — there’s not much other than the stadium to look at when an event is not going on. On the ad agency front, GSD&M is about to launch as well (launch a real presence, that is, not a press release).

  4. IQ Interactive Media Blog » Blog Archive » Brands in Second Life

    October 25, 2006 at 6:09 pm

    [...] Wondering what brands are represented in the virtural world of Second Life? Take the tour here. [...]

  5. Rob Fekete

    October 25, 2006 at 7:39 pm

    Saw this written today

    Marketing to People in Their First Life

    I can vaguely recall the days when things were very different.
    People spent their time in a world filled with oxygen. It seems just
    like yesterday – OH MY – it was yesterday! Let’s take a trip down
    memory lane shall we? The date is Jan 1st 1997, and people are
    starting to spend some time on this thing called the internet.
    Within a couple of years there was a hyper-saturated web with niche
    sites that had everything from exclusive glues to websites designed
    as destination locations for people in their mid 30’s that had an
    affinity for poodles. Certain people claimed they would never leave
    the house again, and vowed to radically change their behavior.

    Now we find ourselves in the 21st Century and the year 2006. The
    internet has just recently started living up to a portion of its
    hype. More people are connected than ever before. The internet is
    by far the greatest way to disseminate information to the masses at
    lightning speed that’s ever been found. I learned this myself by
    building an on-line community. Turns out that people from around the
    world had similar things that they wanted to talk about – surprise!
    In my case, I am referring to experiential marketing. In this day
    and age, people spend dramatically more time on-line then marketers
    ever thought they would back in the early days.

    But now, let’s direct our attention to a current on-line phenomenon
    that has recently been discovered by the media. I am referring to
    the on-line role-playing game Second Life produced by Linden Labs.
    It’s a phenomenal platform that allows endless virtual freedoms in a
    world without oxygen. However, Second Life is a world in major
    transition. It is instructive and interesting as a marketer to be
    able to watch what is going on in that “brave new virtual world”.

    I was acquainted with Second Life even before it launched. It was
    astonishing to see the technology they had developed, and I anxiously
    awaited how it would be accepted by the public. As with any ahead of
    it’s time technology it was immediately embraced by technological
    innovators and early adopters. There was a small group of around
    35,000 residents that felt like they had died and gone to heaven.
    They found a computing platform that allowed them to do things that
    they had dreamed of, but were never able to do before.

    These first residents wanted to create a new world far from the
    masses in first life. Back when we launched Stagecoach Island for
    Wells Fargo we were very careful not to intrude. We built a separate
    private branded entrance, and our island was separate from the Second
    Life MMORPG. There are many reasons from the brand perspective why
    we did this, but there were other reasons that had more to do with
    the respect we have for the in-world residents and our own sense of
    how to reach people in a meaningful way on behalf of our clients.
    The most important was that we believed the Second Life residents
    (innovators) wouldn’t have wanted us throwing up a corporate bank in
    the middle of their Utopia. We respected that and were looking to
    build a brand experience that wouldn’t intrude into anybody’s virtual
    reality, but rather allow for a new experience in which young adults
    could play and learn, utilizing an exciting interactive platform. We
    were able to find a happy medium. Remember, experiential marketing
    is about not interrupting folks, but providing the possibility for
    people to participate in a positive brand experience if they choose to.

    I am amazed everyday at what is taking place in Second Life. The
    early residents are, and have been, feverishly working to pass things
    like the virtual bill of rights etc. These innovators are still the
    ones that make up the majority of the full-time residents. Second
    Life went to a free membership model sometime ago. This allowed for
    a lot of “lookie-loos” to dip a toe in the water and rarely, if ever,
    come back. The full-time residents are not happy with the influx of
    corporations into their world. Is this bad, or is this just the
    inevitable, natural evolution of any society?

    Second Life has recently positioned itself in mainstream media as a
    viable platform for marketers to ply their trade. Because of it,
    brands are jumping in feet first without even really asking
    themselves if they are wanted there. Many brand marketers don’t know
    what questions to ask the agencies that are working for them. They
    want to provide a compelling and pleasant brand experience, but fail
    to realize they have dropped themselves in a world where the majority
    of the population is not interested in first life issues, and does
    not want them there. Unfortunately, unless they immerse themselves
    in the world and understand its residents they can’t know how to
    integrate themselves in a relevant way for the people involved.

    Are brands applying the same strategies in the virtual world as they
    are in the oxygenated world? In the oxygenated world brands try to
    connect with their audiences for the purpose of creating a
    relationship and a call to action: buy. Do their audiences exist in
    the virtual worlds, and if so, is it a place they want to see you?
    These are the types of questions that must be considered before
    entering virtual worlds.

    Is the rush of brands into Second Life a bad thing? If you look at
    life as a great philosopher once said, “There is no good, there is no
    bad, there just is,” then you must simply look at what is taking
    place in Second Life as natural progression – a virtual evolution if
    you will. Soon, the original residents that don’t like what’s
    happening will move on to find or build their next Utopia. Second
    Life may become a hotspot for many new residents. I will be very
    interested to see statistical data that shows the average number of
    visits from residents and window shoppers in Second Life, and the
    average time spent there. Like research in first life – what are the
    residents doing and where are they doing it? How do we reach them in
    a way that positively affects their Second Life and impacts our
    brands in their first – which is where, we all know for the most
    part, they buy our goods and services? These questions and answers
    are what will truly inform if, and how, marketers move forward in a
    world without oxygen. I’m watching, and listening, and holding my

  6. erik hauser

    October 25, 2006 at 8:02 pm

    that was written by me:)

  7. Zen of Design»Blog Archive » Second Life Hits Bogus Milestone!

    October 26, 2006 at 5:57 am

    [...] What’s more intriguing are the number of other corporations that have bought into the idea that Second Life is the place to be: Coolzor has the rundown of companies that have bought in. The list includes Reuters, CNet, Adidas, Reebok, American Apparel, and some advertising agencies. Again, that’s to reach 10K users. People over on Terranova seem interested mostly in talking about Second Life as a creative genesis, but to be honest, Coolzor’s tour of Second Life makes me really happy with the men in tights games – at least in WoW, no one’s going to try to sell me shoes. • • • [...]

  8. Mobil Avenue » Blog Archive » The Times They Are a-Changin’

    October 26, 2006 at 2:12 pm

    [...] Coolz0r’s tour provides a visualisation of some of the RL organizations already in SL. I had a good chuckle at Gifs comment to the post. Many agencies are scrambling to setup a presence in SL after their clients have entered. The wave of new arrivals hanging out a shingle continues on a daily basis. Both old and new players such as advertising agency Centric announcing their arrival in yesterday and social media agency Crayon launching today to name but two come in search of fame and fortune. [...]

  9. Second Life « The future of advertising is here

    October 26, 2006 at 4:57 pm

    [...] Op het blog van Coolz0r heeft hij een korte samenvatting gepost van wat voor grote ontwikkelingen er nog gebeurd zijn in Second Life. [...]

  10. Weekly Linkage [10-27-06] at Experience Planner

    October 27, 2006 at 10:56 pm

    [...] Second Life Tour [Coolz0r] [...]

  11. The Reality of Branding in Second Life « smartbrandblog

    October 28, 2006 at 9:56 pm

    [...] If you’re interested in more on this topic, swing on over to CoolzOr. You’ll find a very interesting in-depth review of many of the brands that are venturing into the Second Life community – and some discussion on what it may all mean. [...]

  12. Prokofy Neva

    October 29, 2006 at 1:33 am

    Actually, the Herald offices are in a tall and well-constructed building on the mainland river sim of Louise. A very pretty area. It used to be edge-of-the-world before the Lindens built out — it’s quite respectable. In fact, being on the mainland, in its way it could be more visible and have more spontaneous visits and interactions because people exploring could fly by.

    Pro tip: take your flying avatar out of the picture — he looks like a dork flying there and it’s a sort of newbish giveaway. To get your avatar gone, use the alt button on your keyboard — hold it down while you left-click with your mouse on any object you want in your picture — then using that combo of held-down alt and left-click zoom around the camera angle to get past your avatar. Makes for a cleaner photo.

  13. Basic Thinking Blog » Virtuelle Welten: Reality Mashup via Augmented Reality

    October 29, 2006 at 2:46 am

    [...] practice) bookmarken mit Digg Furl reddit Shadows Spurl Yahoo MyWeb Yigg Trackback-URL Gelesen: 3 heute:3 [...]

  14. Coolz0r

    October 29, 2006 at 2:34 pm

    Prokofy, thanks for the tips. I was already aware that I could make me disappear, but I choose to show myself, since I was giving a tour. :) I’ll check out the Herald building and thanks for the tips.

    I know I look like a dork. Besides the fact that I am a dork, I didn’t wear my suit and I still have to buy a decen skin. :) I’ll work on that. See you around in SL maybe :)

  15. David Meerman Scott

    October 30, 2006 at 5:01 pm

    Excellent overview. Thank you. This is the best collection of corporate outposts within Second Life that I’ve seen! CHeers, David

  16. The Meshverse Journal » Nice Tour of Branding In Second Life

    November 5, 2006 at 2:59 pm

    [...] Coolzor Marketing Thoughts [...]

  17. » Second Life Tour vom coolzOr-Blogger

    November 8, 2006 at 7:08 pm

    [...] Nach dem Motto: “Bilder sagen mehr als 1.000 Worte”, ist der coolzOr-Blogger auf Reise innerhalb von SL gegangen und hat viele Eindrücke nicht nur via Text sondern auch via Bild festgehalten. Und das Gute daran: Er teilt die Eindrücke mit Euch kostenlos. [...]

  18. » First Tabloid In Second Life - Coolz0r - Marketing Thoughts

    November 9, 2006 at 2:22 pm

    [...] Yes, in come the media. Reuters and BigBrother have made their moves, now it’s time for the tabloids to follow. Axel Springer, the publisher of Germany’s top-selling Bild newspaper, is poised to launch a weekly paper designed to sate the virtual population’s appetite for news and gossip. [...]

  19. the new shelton wet/dry

    November 21, 2006 at 6:27 pm

    [...] + Brands advertising in Second Life [...]

  20. The virtually real economy in Second Life at chilibean

    December 2, 2006 at 9:50 am

    [...] I mentioned that a number of companies have launched themselves into Second Life.  Given the obvious value in being in such an innovative market, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.  These companies include Reuters, Adidas and Sun Microsystems.  Even General Motors recently opened a virtual dealership in Second Life.  For a review of many of the companies and people who have made a home for themselves in Second Life, take a look at this review on Coolz0r. [...]

  21. volkov

    March 6, 2007 at 6:18 pm

    I think that advertising in Second Life is very interesting, and opens up many possibilites for marketing. I wrote about Second Life in my own blog.

  22. Anonymous

    March 21, 2007 at 11:24 pm

    [...] » Second Life Tour – Coolz0r – Marketing Thoughts une visite des grandes marques dans secondlife, screenshots a l appui (tags: secondlife marketing web2.0 brands rmg bank) [...]

  23. Talking Voices: Word of Mouth for the World » Brands In Second Life

    June 19, 2007 at 11:46 pm

    [...] This article is an overview of how corporates are embracing the new medium, including Reuters, C|Net, Adidas, Reebok, Toyota, Nissan, Sun Computers and IBM. [...]