Little by little new personalities are appearing in the influencer panorama. But there is one thing that differentiates them from their predecessors: they are not human and only exist in the digital landscape.
These characters, created thanks to 3D technology, are starting to attract both firms and followers. Although none of the examples that we are going to show fall short of Chiara Ferragni (with almost 12 million followers) or Kim Kardashian (108 million) the truth is that they are creating a great number of followers that deserves to be mentioned.
Firms start to collaborate with digital influencers
In their eternal struggle to make a difference, firms may opt for a digital influencer for being a very attractive concept. This is the reason why many of them have already started to collaborate with these 3D creations. If technology advances towards personalization, so do these characters. Their creators give them “their own life“. They are more than a mere image, they have a story to tell.
The most outstanding profile is Miquela Sousa. Young, half Brazilian and half Spanish, living in Los Angeles and activist. But in reality, she is none of that. @lilmiquela has 677 thousand followers, not bad for a non-human being. She wears clothes from Chanel, Moschino, Burberry, Versace, Fendi and Proenza Schouler.
It is Prada the one who has taken a step further collaborating with the influencer during their Fall-Winter 2018 fashion show. Lil Miquela conquered the firm’s Instagram to track the show in real time. Firms that bet on innovation and diversity are always in search of the surprise effect.
Virtual reality in the world of music
Miquela’s fame has gone beyond the world of fashion. In 2017, she launched the single Not Mine, which reached number 8 on Spotify’s viral success list during that year. In the world of music, virtual celebrities are far from being a novelty. The British band Gorillaz, formed by four animated characters, was founded in the 90s.
Japan is the place where virtual groups and soloists are part of the daily life. The best example is Hatsune Miku, a 16-year-old hologram who has become a pop star. In terms of music, she has collaborated with Lady Gaga or Pharrell Williams, but also, Marc Jacobs designed her outfits in 2013.
The male version of Lil Miquela is @Blako22. His number of followers is still far from that of his friend, but considering that he has been in this world for only five months, it won’t take long for him to reach Lil.
Shudu Gram, the virtual model
The mind behind @lilmiquela or @Blako22 is still a mystery, but we know who is the creator of Shudu Gram, the virtual model that has dazzled Fenty Beauty. The photographer Cameron-James Wilson created @shudu.gram as a way to practice with 3D technology. An African beauty that went viral due to her exoticism and marked features.
Her success, like that of many stars, occurred casually and unexpectedly. A friend of the photographer borrowed the image from his personal Facebook profile and shared it. Tyra Banks reposted the image and after the interest showed by Naomi Campbell or Whinnie Harlow and the fact Fenty Beauty shared an image of the model in their account, her Instagram has now more than 68 thousand followers.
A step backwards or a step towards the future? Their detractors claim that the photoshoped perfection of these characters is nothing more than a reaffirmation of the old canons of beauty that they so anxiously want to overcome. The fact that the creator of Shuzu Gram has claimed to be inspired by Barbie for this creation has only light up the fire of controversy.
However, the creativity behind the image and the technological innovation make these avatars a possible digital future for the industry.