Paris Hilton has been blazing a trail in web3 and metaverse spaces for a long time. She was one of the first celebrities (if not the very first) to join Roblox back in October of 2021, which is before big brands like Sonic the Hedgehog, Hello Kitty, and Alo Yoga found success on the platform reaching young audiences at scale.
On August 11, 2023, Paris Hilton's 11:11 Media launched a brand new Roblox experience called Slivingland. This is so impressive because only a few brands have launched multiple experiences on the platform, the most notable being the NFL.
One of the key leaders on Paris' team driving 11:11's Roblox initiatives forward is Cynthia Miller. In this article, I interview Cynthia to find out more about why Roblox is an important platform for her celebrity boss and what other brands should know about how to use it to reach Gen Z.
Full disclosure: In partnership with Sawhorse, the agency that built Paris' Slivingland experience on Roblox, I worked directly with Cynthia on this project in a marketing and UGC capacity. I've featured several key marketing assets in this article, which I believe are stunning and super fun with their Y2K aesthetic. But obviously I'm biased.
Alright, here's my interview with Cynthia.
History & Background
Metaverse Marcom: What is your role within Paris' company?
Cynthia Miller: I’m the Director of web3 & Metaverse, and oversee a lot of our innovation strategy. That means that I help create and drive forward Paris and 11:11 Media’s initiatives across metaverse, gaming, digital fashion, avatars, NFTs and blockchain. As a self-proclaimed “undercover nerd”, Paris is always thinking about what’s next, what the future holds, and how to have fun with technology to create new possibilities.
MM: For those who may not know, can you please explain the scope and scale of Paris Hilton's 11:11 business, which you work for?
CM: Of course. 11:11 Media is Paris’ global, next-gen entertainment company that lives and breathes pop culture and innovation.
The scale of what Paris Hilton has accomplished, and what 11:11 does, often takes people by surprise. Not many know that she is a multi-hyphenate entrepreneur, business mogul, New York Times best-selling author and one of the top paid female DJs in the world. Even fewer know that she has a world-class media company that powers everything she does across a range of verticals like music, audio, television, licensing, impact, investing, beauty, and apparel.
Breaking barriers, empowering women, building a legacy of impact and continually innovating are core themes that run through everything we do. That could be elevating a new brand campaign (like Paris being the face of the new Taco Bell Volcano Menu campaign which also debuted her “Hot One” single), creating her own hit series “Paris In Love” on Peacock, or working with museums and art institutions to curate ground-breaking exhibits of female artists.
We’re proud to have worked with some of the most forward-thinking brands in the world. Our partners include iHeartRadio, Hilton Hotels, Taco Bell, Klarna, NBC/Peacock, Amazon, L’Oreal, Meta, and Uber Eats–just to name a few.
Motivation & Strategy
MM: How do you see Roblox as a unique platform for engaging with your target audience compared to other online platforms?
CM: Roblox is so much more social than other platforms. Lots of social media is one way communication and two dimensional; they’re not really social platforms, are they?
I’m endlessly fascinated by how young audiences, especially Gen Z, are using Roblox to socialize, communicate, create content, remix content, express themselves and reinvent digital identities. I feel like we’ve barely scratched the surface of what it will do for the world of entertainment, fashion, music and so much more. That’s thrilling.
Challenges & Adaptation
MM: Given that this is Paris' second appearance on Roblox, what lessons did you learn from the first experience that are influencing your strategies now?
CM: The thing to know about Paris is that she never rests on her laurels. She may be an OG in this space and the Queen of the Metaverse, but she keeps her crown by relentlessly innovating. It’s always about what we learned, what’s next, what could we do that no one else can dare to dream of?
Our previous activations for Levi’s, Neon Carnival, L’Oreal’s Urban Decay and Parlux were brilliant learning experiences. We learned so much about what kinds of UGC work (Y2K accessories, obviously); what the Roblox community responds well to; which brands were brave enough to jump into the metaverse with us. Here were the key things we learned:
Playing it safe doesn’t cut it.
This time, we went absolutely all out to inject Paris’ personality into the world and had so much more fun with it. Who wants a metaverse that just replicates real life? Boring. I think we’ve captured imaginations and created a space that was undeniably, distinctively, spectacularly Paris Hilton. Visually it’s a Y2K fever dream meets Blade Runner city meets vapourwave, with charming little Easter Eggs that diehard Paris fans will discover and delight in. AdAge’s exclusive on Slivingland described the world as “[melding] Hilton’s unique brand of all things pink, bedazzled, veloured, flip-phoned and electronica into a neon-lit cityscape”. How perfect is that?
Fans want to feel more connected to Paris
Rather than big branded moments that came and went, we realised there was an opportunity to engage more consistently and in a deeper way with fans. A lot of brands treat the metaverse and gaming platforms like a gimmick at the fringes of their business. I see it as a heartbeat and an engine. Done right, these platforms can co-create new IP and products; open up new audiences; become new social channels; and extend your brand in unforeseen ways.
Our strategy with Slivingland is to make it a strategic pillar of 11:11 Media. We want there to be a tighter loop between her Roblox community, her entertainment content and Paris’ products, experiences and partnerships. The flywheel turns faster: what Paris does IRL integrates into Slivingland, and what happens in Slivingland can shape IRL experiences outside it.
Our previous forays into Roblox centered around big virtual events: a New Year’s Eve DJ set, a concert, a fashion show, a mini-game. We’re trying something a little different in Slivingland. The core game loop is a sim game, with adorable pets and accessories to collect, that keeps players engaged day to day. But we’re also planning hero moments and fun Paris-centred partnerships that give fans and the Roblox community a reason to get hyped and stay immersed in her world.
Collaboration & Partnerships
MM: How can Paris help bring other brands into the space with this Roblox experience?
CM: There’s so much opportunity for innovation in this space, and Slivingland is the no-brainer, low-risk, high-impact way for brands, IP and talent to jump into Roblox.
Her metaverse experience: Paris has found success by trying new things and learning, fast. Instead of building your own experience, which can be time-consuming and a significant investment, Slivingland is a shortcut for brands who want to experiment in the metaverse, reach Gen Z audiences and test and learn quickly
Easy integration: We designed the world purposefully to be modular and seamless to integrate into. There is virtual media space like billboards, holograms, a podcast lounge and TV screens to take over, and so much more.
Reaching Gen Z: Paris knows how to reach and engage young audiences. A recent brand study showed that 85% of Gen Z’ers globally recognize her, 63% are fans, and 65% are more likely to purchase a product if she endorses it, which makes her an incredibly powerful brand partner. Couple that with the fact that Roblox players spend 2.4 hours on average a day on the platform, and you have a core audience that loves Paris, spends hours immersed in worlds, and are engaging much more deeply: an ideal environment for brands to capture attention and market themselves.
Whether it’s partnering for a product launch, popping up a watch or listen party for new entertainment content, or doing something boundary-breaking that no one has even dreamt of, we’re alway up for collaborating with brands that want to be pioneers.
Marketing & Promotion
MM: How do you plan to leverage both Paris' fan base and the existing Roblox user base to maximize reach?
CM: I think it’s about showing that Slivingland is big enough and welcoming for both Paris’ fanbase and the existing Roblox community–there’s something for everyone.
For the Roblox community, we’re leaning hard into the things we know they care about: fun Y2K UGC (sunglasses! flip phone accessories! 2000s chokers!), a great game that you can’t stop playing, and a variety of badges, rewards and collectibles to unlock.
For Paris’ fan base, we’re really excited to bring more of Paris’ content like her music, her podcasts and her products, into the world with fan moments that allow players to connect with her. I mean it when I say that Paris is obsessed with being in Slivingland. On launch weekend, she hopped in at least half a dozen times to chat with fans, run around the world with them and just hang out together. She’s an authentic “undercover nerd” that loves games and Roblox and innovative spaces to connect with fans, and there will be more of that in Slivingland.
Advice for Other Brands
MM: Based on your experience, what advice would you give to other brands or celebrities who are considering entering the Roblox platform?
CM: Give it a go! Respect the Roblox community: it has its own wonderful sub-culture, language, memes and quirks. Have fun with how you show up. Keep showing up. And if you are intrigued but don’t know how Roblox, “the metaverse” or gaming in general could fit into your strategies, give Paris and 11:11 Media a call.
Stephen Dypiangco is the CEO of Metaverse Marcom, a strategy and consulting firm helping entertainment brands enter Roblox and start monetizing.
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