We have seen AI spread across all aspects of the world extremely fast. From enhancing our productivity with tools like ChatGPT, Midjourney and DALL-E, to unravelling solutions to seemingly impossible problems, AI has proven its transformative potential.
However, as technology continues its march forward, we have also witnessed the emergence of some unsettling creations. Including the arrival of virtual influencers, sometimes referred to as CGI influencers.
Meet Lil Miquela, a household name in the world of virtual influencers. She made her debut on Instagram back in 2016, captivating audiences worldwide with her unique persona. This computer generated character has an impressive 2.7 million followers and counts top-tier brands like Prada and Calvin Klein among her collaborations. In 2019, she was even the front face of the #teamgalaxy campaign, reportedly raking in a staggering $10 million.
(Instagram, 17 May)
Lil Miquela’s online persona is that of a young woman in her late teens. She has a unique and stylish appearance, characterised by her fashionable clothing, colourful hair and bold makeup. Her Instagram gives her following an insight into her personal style, social activism, and interactions with other virtual and real-world personalities.
However, it doesn’t stop there. Miquela’s creators have crafted an intricate backstory for her, making her seem genuinely real. She has a detailed life, relationships and believable experiences. They’ve positioned her as a pop culture icon with relatable interests, ranging from fashion and music to social justice and human rights issues.
For example, the caption of the below Instagram post is a detailed paragraph describing her feelings and ambitions.
(Instagram, 16 August)
Perhaps the most frightening and intriguing aspect of Lil Miquela’s ride is the deep connection her followers have forged with her. To many, she feels like a real person with genuine emotions.
For example black_bracelet_ commented on her post back in April: ‘My fav celebrity’. Another fan, ufw.kaie commented ‘I really love you Lilmiquela’.
This rise in virtual influencers is bound to change the advertising world in profound ways. Therefore, it is scary to think what the future of advertising and influencers will look like. When analysing virtual influencers such as Lil Miquela, thought provoking questions are raised about the future of advertising and influencer marketing.
What new forms of authenticity and emotional connection will emerge in this ever-changing digital realm? The future of advertising and influencers is a captivating journey that remains open-ended, with endless possibilities waiting to be explored.
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