Unilever’s Magnum ice cream joins the metaverse backlash

MullenLowe Madrid’s new work for Magnum tells us – as if we need reminding – that nothing quite compares to the joys of the real world.

The #NotAvailableInTheMetaverse campaign follows an avatar on her frustrated mission to escape the metaverse and enjoy the real-life pleasures of a Magnum.

Unilever has been sensibly tentative in exploring the metaverse, paying attention while remaining wary of the hype and alert to potential data issues.

Mark Zuckerberg, in contrast, could be regretting his decision to go all in. When he rebranded Facebook as Meta in 2021, he panicked many marketers and agencies into a headlong rush towards the online 3D universe.

Maybe they were just ahead of their time, but the metaverse has so far failed to live up to its promise, thanks to prohibitive costs and underwhelming demand.

Meta shares have nosedived and Zuckerberg has refocused (but not renamed) the business, while Disney has recently discontinued its metaverse division and Microsoft has done the same, investing instead in generative AI like ChatGPT.

Unilever, meanwhile, retains its healthy scepticism. Sara Paixao, global Magnum digital brand manager, said, “The pleasure of eating an ice cream is not, yet, available in the virtual world. So, in the meantime, we wanted to encourage everyone to take some time offline and experience the real-life pleasure of indulging in a Magnum.”

Tomas Ostiglia, ECD, LOLA MullenLowe Madrid, said: “The metaverse generates many expectations, but also many doubts. As Magnum is the ice cream brand that celebrates real pleasure, we saw it as a great opportunity to take advantage of the wave of doubts about the metaverse to continue building the brand’s positioning.”

There are various real world activations, including a partnership with a mental wellbeing neuroscientist to release the Magnum Pleasure Guide for young people who have difficulty setting boundaries between their online and offline lives.

Media is by Mindshare and PR by Golin.

MAA creative scale: 6

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About Emma Hall

Emma Hall is a journalist and editorial consultant and is the former Europe Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.

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