Dive Brief:

  • Timberland is taking its boot design innovation platform into the metaverse for the first time through a partnership with game developer Epic Games and creative studio Conceptkicks, per a news release. Metavision, a metaverse-focused agency, helped guide creative strategy on the activation.
  • The outdoor brand’s latest Construct: 10061 program centers on an interactive Fortnite experience. A custom in-game island features a virtual iteration of Timberland’s real-world innovation lab, a collection of four “Metaboots” for players to try on and three distinct biomes to explore while wearing the gear.
  • Timberland is debuting the concept during Milan Design Week at its flagship Orefici11 store. There, visitors can check out physical prototypes of the boots, watch live gameplay and participate as a fifth Metaboot is put together in Fortnite. Timberland joins other apparel marketers in using the metaverse conceit to show off experimental product ideas and engage a young audience with a clear preference for gaming.

Dive Insight:

Timberland has run its Construct: 10061 program since 2018, but is looking to meet the cultural moment this year by porting the platform over into the metaverse. Like many metaverse plays, the Fortnite experience is essentially a more involved online gaming activation, though Timberland is making use of a range of developer Epic Games technology offerings.

The custom island gives players a peek behind the curtain at the bootmaker’s design process through a virtual version of its real-world lab. The larger space has varied climates that mirror the different outdoor environments people might explore wearing Timberland gear.

Each of the three biomes on the island is accompanied by a Metaboot, with arctic, desert and forest-themed footwear that match the exaggerated cartoon aesthetic of Fortnite. The biomes can be explored through “parkour trails” that unlock special effects for visitors to bring back to the design lab. A fourth Metaboot is inspired by the classic Timberland yellow boot.

The Metaboots are the result of a collaborative effort between Timberland’s Advanced Concepts & Energy team, Construct: 10061, Conceptkicks and BeyondCreative, a game studio that specializes in Fortnite experiences for brands. BeyondCreative has previously worked with Chipotle, Adidas and Balenciaga, speaking to the range of businesses pursuing more bespoke activations in the massively popular multiplayer title.

Epic Games not only owns Fortnite, but also the computer-graphics engine Unreal and 3D modeling platform Sketchfab. Timberland created a high-fidelity version of its Forest Metaboot by leveraging Unreal, which is viewable in augmented reality (AR) via Sketchfab. Other prototype boots are also available to examine on Sketcfab using AR. Epic Games earlier this year secured a $2 billion funding round to support its bid at building the metaverse.

The latest Construct: 10061 also shows Timberland adopting a hybrid marketing model with the in-person launch event for Milan Design Week, which runs through June 12. Ali “SypherPK” Hassan, a leading Fortnite content creator, is involved in the effort.



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