Civic New Media, an offshoot of Civic and New Media Corp, features a brainstorming area, a conference and visitor centre, a relaxation quarter and a broadcasting section within Second Life.
‘A recent Gartner report said 80 per cent of users will have a virtual web presence by 2011,’ said New Media Corp MD Arvind Salwan. ‘As far as we are aware, this is the world’s first agency to launch in Second Life or solely in a virtual world. It does not have a presence anywhere else.’
‘Virtual worlds are still evolving,’ Salwan added. ‘Second Life is the Microsoft of the moment, leading the way, but the agency will evolve with the climate.’
Although agencies have set up offices in Second Life before, Civic and New Media Corp claims to be the first to launch an integrated online PR and digital marketing offering.
Other Second Lifers that have attracted interest include the virtual Swedish Embassy and a replica of the Sky News studio. It is understood that Hilary Clinton’s election team is planning to open a campaign office in Second Life.
‘We are inviting clients to enter and explore the Civic New Media Village, use its facilities, and hold real-time meeting in the virtual space and suggest ideas and designs for phase two,’ said Civic MD Graham Jones.
In June, Cow PR’s social networking division Herd launched a ‘virtual worlds consultancy service’. The venture aims to help firms establish a presence in virtual realms such as Second Life (PRWeek, 22 June).