Using Technology to Connect With Gen Z

Joanna Lambert, President of Yahoo, shares how her company is pushing boundaries to meet Gen Z where they live.

What are you doing that hasn’t been done before?

At Yahoo, we are excited to have brought the first purely digital experience in real life to New York Fashion Week with the “Maisie Wilen Fall-Winter 2022 Collection Holographic Experience Powered by Yahoo” that pushes the boundaries of digital shopability and digital first immersive experiences. We created this experience for our growing Gen Z audience and designed a multi-format campaign (live, social, virtual)  to meet our Gen Z audience where they are. 

The holographic experience melded the virtual and physical worlds of fashion in a way never experienced before, offering consumers new and unique portals into the artist’s collection and creative process. We used volumetric capture and created holograms that have a multi-format use that’s also scalable. The immersive assets transform what was once an exclusive experience for a select few in person into a global event for fans all around the world with a click. Yahoo brings the experience to consumers to access on their desktop or mobile phone, allowing them to engage and explore the looks wherever they are, through 3D assets using WebAR.  Maisie’s collection is available at Yahoo and through an easy QR code, which directs users straight into AR that is fully shoppable and shareable through a new social commerce experience. Yahoo created a first of its kind GIF lookbook, with a see now, buy now option to click to purchase.  It is a stunning visual experience. If you want to go behind the scenes with us, I’ve shared our video here to fully understand the scope and stunning visuals.

This experience marks our second year as the innovation partner for NYFW and furthers our continued focus on being a disruptor in the space. Last year we created a first of its kind 3D NFT experience in collaboration with Rebecca Minkoff and an immersive experience with designer Christian Cowan.  We want to keep pushing boundaries. 

As the project evolved, what did you learn about immersive experiences that came as a surprise?

This experience showed us that for creators and brands to connect with audiences across the Metaverse and with the rise of Web3, this technology gives them freedom. Freedom to choose how they express themselves in the virtual world. The multi-platform campaign and the ability to take one asset like a hologram and create multiple use cases for it digitally and physically is incredibly interesting to us.  It also raised the question: How could this technology translate to other ventures?

Yahoo is the third largest internet property in the U.S. and we have incredible expertise and knowledge of the internet as a business rooted in the digital space. We know what people are most interested in right now and have been innovating in this space for a while. We are seeing how AR, VR, 3D formats, and NFTs are evolving in this ever-changing technology landscape and can be used across fashion, entertainment and sport. 

The convergence of incredible technologies such as real-time rendering, AR, NFTs, decentralized immersive Web3, along with consumers’ growing presence in a digital world has accelerated the potential of what the Metaverse can be. The virtual world is going to become ever more prominent in our daily lives and therefore these types of immersive experiences are going to become increasingly popular as the technology develops.

What’s next?

The possibilities are endless. We are focused on continuing to innovate and create experiences that really resonate with the youth zeitgeist as we continue to see strong growth with Gen Z. We are constantly iterating on formats of the future and how best we can help brands connect to their consumers. There is a white space and we are constantly trying to embrace it.  We see tremendous opportunities to bring this emerging technology to other categories that we have massive Gen Z interest in, especially sports and finance.  Watch this space!  

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