Ever since the start of her Instagram career in April 2016, Miquela (@lilmiquela) has caught Instagram-users’ attention. Prada, Diesel, Supreme and a long list of big fashion brands have worked with Lil Miquela, a virtual model who portrays itself as a 19 years old girl who likes fashion and beauty. Her latest achievement was to release a single featuring Baauer (@baauer) on Spotify and this leads to having her face on a Spotify billboard at Times Square.
Lil Miquela is created by an LA-based startup company that specialized in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics called Brud. Right now Brud owns 3 CGIs influencers, Lil Miquela, Bermuda (@bermudaisbae) and Blawko (@Blawko22) Although among the 4 influencers, Lil Miquela is still considered the most successful in terms of the number of followers. Since 2016, her followers have been growing rapidly.
The creator of Shudu labelled her as the world’s first digital supermodel. Her Instagram is full of high fashion photos, just like what you would see if you go to a supermodel Instagram account. Shudu has become the topic of conversation in the beauty world ever since Fenty Beauty reposted a picture of the virtual model using one of their mattemoisele lipstick. Since then, other beauty and fashion brands had put their interest to work with Shudu, like YSL Beauty and Pat McGrath just to name a few.
Just like Lil Miquela, in the beginning, her followers could not tell whether Shudu was a real person or not until their creators admitted that they are in fact not real. Lucky for them, the fact that they are CGI does not stop people from following them on Instagram. Just take a look at the audience growth of Shudu since 2017 when her creator, photographer Cameron-James Wilson, first uploaded a “picture” of her.
Why do brands want to work with CGI Influencer?
According to an article from Wired, many brands will start to build their own virtual influencers, simply because CGI influencers are much easier to control than human influencers. Brands can control the message that reaches their target audiences.
In addition, brands could create an influencer that their target market can relate with. In 2017, EA Sports created a fictional games character named Alex Hunter. His character is found in the game “The Journey”. where players are following his journey to become a professional soccer player. The purpose of creating Alex Hunter was to give FIFA games fanatics a relatable influencer. This year, Alex Hunter is signed by Coca-Cola Zero Sugar to be their virtual brand ambassador.
The existence of CGI Influencer would benefit fashion brands. CGI Influencer is perfect to promote their products as they can act like a virtual mannequin. They can be dressed in digital replication of any products of the brand and will definitely look good in it.
Another reason why brands are attracted to work with CGIs influencer might also because of the performance of their Instagram, Lil Miquela and Shudu have a high engagement rate. Shudu leads by 9.62% and Lil Miquela with 6.38%. However, Shudu has less number of followers than Lil Miquela, she has 139.100 followers compared to Lil Miquela’s 1.4 million followers. They both have an international follower, which is great for brands who are having an international campaign.
So, will the CGI Influencer replace human influencer in the future? We shall see.