Paris Hilton Dreamed of the Metaverse Before It Existed

It was probably news to the attendees of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity—if not the world at large—but apparently Paris Hilton had the idea for the metaverse before Mark Zuckerberg.

“I was thinking about the metaverse before there was even a name for it,” said Hilton, the featured guest at a panel discussion on the creator economy at ADWEEK House in Cannes.

In 2017, Hilton was DJing at the Amnesia Ibiza EDM party when she found herself wishing there was a way for people without the time or money to fly to Spain to still participate in the festivities. She envisioned a platform called Club Paris.

“People could come in from around the world,” Hilton elaborated. “You could buy a table, order sparklers, [buy] all these digital outfits. But the technology just hadn’t caught up with me at this point.”

Perhaps it was for the best. While Meta’s apps are still cranking out the profits, its Reality Labs division—which develops the VR and AR software and wearables to access the metaverse—lost $16 billion in 2023 alone.

Fortunately for Hilton—and, perhaps, other creators—Reality Labs has produced a product that’s getting traction: Ray-Ban Meta smartglasses, which Hilton said she’s already using to create content.

Hilton joined Reality Labs global marketing vice president Shachar Scott and TikTok influencer-turned-digital educator Kahlil Greene at ADWEEK House in Cannes for a session titled The Creator Economy and the New World of Creativity, sharing their views on the evolution of content and how brands stand to benefit.

Influencer marketing has morphed into an estimated $21 billion industry, and it’s hard to find a major brand without an influencer strategy. But while the early days saw brands inking deals with mega influencers, the more recent trend has seen brands seeking out those with smaller followings and dedicated fans who come for the quality content, not the celebrity name.

“We’re starting to see the next generation of content creators become true brand storytellers,” said Quad Agency Solutions president Eric Ashworth, who introduced the discussion. “That’s what’s going to drive the next generation of creativity and marketing.”

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