The world has experienced exponential growth in the world of new media technologies in the past few years. An eminent recent phenomena can be seen in CGI influencers. These virtual characters have revolutionized the digital marketing industry, completely changing the game for social media influencers around the world.
One of the most notable virtual influencers that are taking over the world today is Lil Miquela. Lil Miquela first appeared on the internet in 2016 when she first created her Instagram account (@lilmiquela). Not long after her Instagram debut, online debates and conspiracy theories arose regarding this synthetic persona. Many speculated that she was created as part of a social experiment, while others believed she was a real girl who hid her insecurities through heavy digital editing. Lil Miquela’s Instagram remained active without addressing people’s speculations. As a result, her account saw a dramatic incline in followers, attributed by the world’s natural curiosity. With over 1.6 million followers, Lil Miquela has now established a prominent internet and marketing presence as a CGI influencer.
Noonoouri, another popular virtual influencer, takes on a different approach to the virtual influencer world than Lil Miquela. Whereas Lil Miquela looks very close to being a real girl, Noonoouri’s creator claims that he wants people to immediately recognize Noonoouri as a character, and not an actual human being, noting that he doesn’t want to set any unrealistic beauty standards for women.
Noonoouri has established herself firmly within the fashion industry, collaborating with luxury fashion brands like Dior, Marc Jacobs, and Versace. Breaking the limits of being a digital character, Noonoouri also ventured into the beauty industry, taking on projects with Dior Beauty and KKW Beauty where she starred in their makeup ads and tutorials.
Barbie has proved to become a timeless character as she transcended from the physical world and into the digital world. With Barbie Vlogger, her vlog channel up and running on YouTube and Barbie.com, Barbie has attracted an audience of over seven million subscribers on YouTube alone. Although she was first created and catered for children in the 1950s, her embarkment into the digital age has allowed her to become relatable and relevant to children and teenagers today. Having an already established fan base for years, it’s no surprise that her online audience grew rapidly, making Barbie one of the top virtual influencers in the world today.
The competition amongst human social media influencers is already steep as businesses are on the constant lookout for famous faces to promote their products and services. Now, could the emergence of CGI influencers obstruct the path for human influencers? If we examine the situation realistically, CGI influencers can be much more reliable as brand spokespersons because firstly, their looks are going to last, secondly, they’re completely dynamic and versatile, and finally and more importantly in the world today, they’re completely scandal-proof. Based on the success we’ve seen with the few virtual influencers that are blowing up our feeds today, we can expect to see a new wave of them cascade upon us in the near future.
Shudu is perhaps the most life-like looking virtual influencer on Instagram currently.