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How Mediahub built its metaverse office in just two days (and chose to rent, not buy)

December 20, 2021, 9:34 PM UTC

Mediahub Worldwide decided to rent space in the metaverse instead of buying digital real estate, and the process of getting into their virtual digs took just two days. 

Interpublic Group is the parent company of the global media buying and planning agency headquartered in New York. Mediahub’s clients include Netflix, Chipotle, Morgan Stanley,  E-Trade, and the NBA. The company shared on Twitter that its one of the newest residents of Decentraland, a decentralized 3D virtual reality platform.

Simeon Edmunds, SVP and creative director of Mediahub’s R+D Lab, said the exercise was partly about getting familiar with the metaverse so it could help clients, but also realizing it’s almost impossible to tell clients about the metaverse—you need to show them.

“It was really hard to explain it because but everybody has different levels of familiarity,” he said. When you get into the nuts and bolts of the technology, like it’s connected to the blockchain, involved Ethereum, and “there’s an internal currency for Decentraland, which is called Mana, most people just shut down because it’s way too much,” Edmunds said. “We built the space because it’s much easier to just drop them into it,” he said.

The company began discussing joining the metaverse in November, Edmunds said. But the land price can seem like a hurdle, especially when you hear of it being sold in the millions, which Mediahub’s finance team was concerned about, he explained. That led to the option to rent. “There’s third parties that will connect somebody who owns the property was someone who’s interested in leasing it,” Edmunds said. “We executed a lease with Ethereum, and they’re holding our deposit in escrow. It’s not even that expensive. It was less than $400 month, which my bosses were happy with.” 

Although Mediahub’s space is owned by someone else, the company has virtual building rights and management rights, he said. They were able to walk through the property, going through a few different versions before settling on one. The process of the build and executing the lease, “took a little while, about two days,” Edmunds said. “In the greater scheme of things, that’s fast. But a simple build could be done in hours.” For example, a car company wanting to show off a new model can just drop it in the metaverse, he said. 

Courtesy of Mediahub

Each floor of Mediahub’s office is dedicated to a different theme. The first floor introduces visitors to the company and explains its mission, Edmunds said. “On the next floor we’re going to have rotating art installations,” he said. “We’re already working with underrepresented artists as a company.” For example, “the art on our walls in the Boston office is curated versus just having someone come in and paint them,” he noted. In January, the company will help artists with their first NFT drop in the metaverse, Edmunds said. Meanwhile, the Mediahub Discord channel will serve as a recruiting space for next-gen talent.

If you’re considering entering the metaverse, the first question you should ask is, “What do we do as a brand or company that we could potentially bring part of that experience into a virtual space?” he said. “You don’t need a storefront in the metaverse just to have one. It used to be easy to be on every single platform when it was just Twitter and Facebook. But now you have to make smart decisions.” 

And if you want to get in front of a tech savvy audience, most likely with higher incomes, the metaverse may be useful, he said. For example, “if a company has 3D images that are iterations of their products, that could be interesting to play with in the metaverse,” Edmunds said.

Fortune’s upcoming Brainstorm Design conference is going to dive into how businesses are building experiences in the metaverse. Apply to attend the event on May 23-24 in New York.