The European Union hosted a 24-hour launch party in the metaverse, a project which cost the EU Foreign Aid department €387,000 ($407,000), in order to promote a new strategy. Only several people attended the party, severely undercutting the project’s expectations.
The “Global Gateway” project is the EU’s attempt at raising €300 billion in investments by 2027 to help global recovery efforts following the pandemic. The "beach party" offering "music and fun" in the metaverse was supposed to introduce apolitical 18-35-year-olds to what the EU is doing and get them involved through social media.
The aim was to reach an audience that is not frequently exposed to such information, and “who identify as neutral about the EU and are not particularly engaged in political issues,” a spokesperson said.
According to that spokesperson, the party was supposed “to intrigue that audience, primarily on TikTok and Instagram, and to encourage them to engage with the broader substance of the campaign, which will increase awareness of what the EU does on the world stage among an audience that is not typically exposed to such information.”
According to journalist Vince Chadwick, the turnout at the metaverse party was abysmal. Only a handful of people showed up, totaling six attendees (Chadwick included). That was the peak number of party-goers, at least while he was online.
For some, the terrible turnout was not at all unexpected. Anonymous members of the Foreign Aid department came out to say that they were disgruntled with the project.
"Depressing and embarrassing" and "digital garbage" were among the department's first responses to the underwhelming €387,000 venue.
These initially came in following the department’s unveiling of the platform in mid-October and the release of a promotional video.
Discover the new #GlobalGateway digital platform - https://t.co/DHAdsfwbA1— EU International Partnerships 🇪🇺 (@EU_Partnerships) October 13, 2022
Our shared digital space is the perfect place to get to know new people and reflect on global issues to make a difference for our shared future. #WhoWeArepic.twitter.com/IAA01vIYbo
Although the promotional video is not intended to entice EU bureaucrats, the target audience on TikTok and Instagram seems equally unphased by the project and the whole metaverse gala.
“Our shared digital space is the perfect place to get to know new people and reflect on global issues to make a difference for our shared future,” EU International Partnerships said in the tweet.
But for now, it seems like new people don’t want to get to know the EU. At least not in this manner.