This spectacular montage machinima may seem like a big budget commercial for Second Life (and it's definitely more dazzling than the actual ad Linden Lab paid for in 2021), but it's actually more interesting than that:
It's a showreel of ads for top metaverse brands inside the Second Life economy, created by Teal Aurelia, a recent art school grad whose machinima tribute to SL artists last year went low key viral across the community.
Since then, she's crafted herself into a creator of video ads for Second Life brands that align with her own aesthetic focus:
"Really I'm here to film monsters and magic and defiant women," as Teal tells me. "I usually only accept commissions from brands that suit those cinematic visuals, so it's just a process of weaving their work with mine rather than trying to film what I hope a brand represents."
To put it another way: The most watched Second Life machinima now are Second Life brand ads by Teal. While live "let's play" type videos can garner many more views, self-contained narrative SL machinima shorts typically earn a several hundred/a few thousand views.
But by my rough count across her main social media channels (Flickr, Facebook, Instagram, X/Twitter, etc.) Teal Aurelia's ads have attracted well over 100,000 views. While her clients haven't shared subsequent sales figures, "most clients have come back to me to request multiple commissions," she says. "So I take that as a good sign?"
Some of Second Life's top brands — i.e. those grossing over $1 million USD a year — have even offered to hire her exclusively as their full time ad director. "It's amazing anyone would ask me that, but I really think my videos have only been successful so far because I work alone and make what I love."
I actually think if any company hires her full-time, it should probably be Linden Lab itself, but that's just me. In any case, the success of her video ads illustrates the importance of advertising metaverse platform-based content outside the platform, across the asynchronous social media ecosystem.
Here's a look at some recent favorite ads, along with some more Teal insights on her creative approach:
"No one wants to watch ads, and it's more powerful to tell a story than to sell a product. Whenever I start a new video I open Spotify and listen carefully to music, and somehow out of a song will step heroes and villains and battlefields. Of course I always have the brand in mind, but in the same way that perfume ads sell sophistication rather than scent, my videos try to sell drama rather than mesh."
— Teal Aurelia (@teal_aurelia) November 6, 2023
"I'm an independent artist with a distinct style, so the brands I work with are buying my art from start to finish. I do check if there are any specifics the video needs to include (male/female avatars etc.), but I rarely seek input on the concept. Brands I work with are busy being creative people too, and they understand the difference between hiring a cameraman verses hiring a filmmaker."
Connect with Teal Aurelia on her Facebook, and by that name across most social media channels.