Unit9 Group is launching a specialist division dedicated to all things metaverse, called M.A.D, which stands for Metaverse Advisory Dept.
The division will aim to ensure that concepts and strategies align with eventual creative execution. Launch clients include Havas Media Group, Opera and COPA90.
M.A.D will be led by Garry Williams, who will move from his position as business director at Unit9 in which he will be succeeded by current client partnerships manager Adam Mingay. Williams will be joined by executive strategy director Annie Bedard.
Williams is actively looking to bring on metaverse-obsessed producers, creative and technical talent to join the M.A.D team. For current projects, the division is calling on talent from across Unit9 Group's global pool as required.
Williams and Bedard have been handed a remit of helping develop clients' metaverse aspirations at an early stage to ensure they align with objectives and limitations.
The new division will have its headquarters in London but will operate across all Unit9 locations, including Canada, China, Europe and the US. M.A.D will feed into the global Unit9 Group businesses with Williams reporting to to Rosh Singh, EMEA managing director.
Singh, said: "With such intense hype around the metaverse, there is, understandably, much scepticism. But we're undergoing the next evolution of the internet. Web 3.0, or the metaverse, is so much more than gaming and NFTs. It's a radical change in the way humans and information interact, signalling an era akin to the earliest days of the smartphone.
"Such a seismic shift will inevitably have a major impact on brands and marketing. But clients are struggling to find legitimate guidance on how to prepare for this shift.
"Fortunately, Unit9 has been working in this space long before most adlanders even became aware of it. So, in response to client demand, we decided to formalise this expertise to help brands and agencies understand the metaverse as an end-to-end proposition, from experience design and early ideation through to delivery of mind-blowing creative that genuinely works.
"We're excited to already be working with a number of forward-thinking clients who are preparing and defining their role in this space."
M.A.D will lean into Unit9 Group's multiple disciplines, which include metaverse-style projects such as a STEM-themed Minecraft experience for The Ad Council, and an immersive virtual world featuring a motion-captured digital avatar of DJ Diplo for Intel (pictured).
Williams added: "Having worked at the intersection of creativity and technology since 1997, Unit9 has been ahead of the curve in terms of defining the building blocks of activating within the metaverse."
Inaugural global client Jez Jowett, global director, media creativity of Havas Media Group, said: "We're passionate about the possibilities for the metaverse to be a new frontier for brand experiences.
"By bringing in the right specialist partner with their technical and production expertise, we're able to provide clients with a meaningful solution to activating in and from the metaverse thanks to Unit9 and M.A.D."