HomeEquity Bank supports vets in the metaverse

The finance brand is creating virtual homes in Decentraland to raise awareness about projects that help homeless veterans.

HomeEquity-veterans

HomeEquity Bank is tapping a global virtual world to drive awareness and donations for veterans’ housing.

The finance brand, best known for its reverse mortgage offerings, has created a Homes for Heroes village in the Decentraland, an immersive 3D metaverse platform that lets users explore and socialize via AR and VR.

The meta village is modeled on a future build planned in Kingston (home of Royal Military College) for partner Homes for Heroes. The non-profit’s mission is to integrate homeless military veterans into the community by building unique and affordable urban villages in major cities – typically, 15 to 25 homes per plot of land.

Users can donate right in the square in the village and HomeEquity Bank will match Canadians’ donations for the duration of the campaign.

“We have seen the Metaverse emerge and grow as an influential cultural trend, and by creating a Homes for Heroes village in decentraland, we can use this new technology to raise awareness and support for veterans through this unique campaign,” says Vivianne Gauci, SVP, marketing and customer experience for HomeEquity Bank.

Outside of promoting its own financial products, a significant portion of HomeEquity’s marketing in recent years has been focused on Canadian military veterans. Much of that has been digital-forward, using platforms like Twitch to educate younger generations, who are further removed from those who have fought in previous wars, about the sacrifices veterans have made.

While Twitch was used to reach its target where they were, Gauci says HomeEquity wanted to do something in a virtual world for this campaign, informed by insights that 56% of Canadians agree they’d be more likely to explore the metaverse if it had a positive real-world impact.

She adds that it’s also a great way to give people a real experience of what Homes for Heroes is trying to accomplish. According to Gauci, people can get a better sense of the village community that they can’t get from a simple rendering, and that includes homes all facing inward to better connect residents, and that individual units are named after fallen soldiers.

“This is just another evolution of our thinking [that] we should be doing more to support our veterans year round, not just November,” she says, adding that it has a broad appeal but will resonate with younger users too.

According to a 2018 federal government report, veterans account for approximately 4.4% of homeless individuals across Canada, and according to Ipsos Reid data, supporting them is a cause the vast majority of Canadians (92%) support.

“What we believe in is to make sure we allow Canadians to live in the homes that they love for as long as possible, and we thought that was a great fit for an overall values experience,” Gauci says.

The brand is using paid and earned media to get the word out. Canadians can go to MakeThisVillageReal.com to experience the virtual village, without downloading any software. Donors will also receive a wearable NFT for use in Decentraland as well.

Zulu Alpha Kilo led the strategy and creative development for the campaign, which is running to August 12. Weber Shandwick led PR, Metaverse Architects led the Decentraland build and iQuanti was behind the media buying.