You may have only just got your head around the notion of influencers but prepare for the rise of the virtual influencer. These CGI characters – already scooping up millions of followers in the worlds of gaming, music and fashion - have a certain look, feel and backstory but are entirely fictional.
The idea of following a robot might leave you cold but Dudley Nevill-Spencer, founder of Virtual Influencer Agency, notes that if the VI’s content resonates with a follower, then they react, respond and engage, in the same say you might warm to a character in a TV show or film. ‘Virtual influencers will be the trend-setters, the taste-makers and the style icons of the next generation,’ he says. Here are Dudley’s top 10 CGI influencers from around the world to follow.
This AI robot rapper’s videos are short, high quality productions that meld big name brands and mind-bending visuals.
She’s a brand rep for a Brazilian retail conglomerate with an astonishing 6m followers on Instagram, making her the most followed VI in the world. In the future, every retailer will have a Lu flogging their wares.
This VTuber (virtual YouTuber) is a musician, interviewer, gamer and streamer. A fully fleshed out VI brand, Code Miko makes money from fans paying for shout outs on Twitch, the US video game live streaming service owned by Amazon.
Pink-haired Japanese virtual influencer Imma has a beautiful aesthetic. In a recent campaign for Ikea she appeared ‘live’ in a store window and she featured in the closing ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 paralympic games.
The pioneering Aba is Ghana’s first virtual influencer, with a passion for fashion, music and dance.
Ivaany - ‘Creole doll and digital model’ – is the fashion-loving creation of Tatyana Jerome, digital artist and co-founder of Parisian agency Mason Amany
A bonafide VI veteran, Japanese singer Hatsune Miku has been around since 2007. The blue-haired teenager performs ‘live’ in front of tens of thousands of fans. And where Japan goes, the West will follow…
This virtual K-pop girl group was created by Riot Games, as part of its League of Legends game’s universe.
From the same game, we have songwriter Seraphine. Interestingly, Riot Games introduced this VI as a music star. Once she’d released tracks on Spotify and gathered followers, she segued into a League of Legends character. Consider that a gaming/ music crossover marketing strategy par excellence.
Finally, meet the most multi-talented virtual musician of all. Teflon Sega points to the future of VI popstars – he’s the one whose posters children will hang in their bedrooms, as they buy NFTs of his work to show off while socialising in Metaverse worlds.