How Virtual Influencers Shape The Future Of Branding

Konstantina Antoniadou
6 min readNov 24, 2022
Singapore-based virtual influencer Rae (left) in a photo from Jstyle magazine with China’s top female rapper, Vava.

Amidst the ever-growing trend of influencer marketing, virtual influencers are slowly but surely taking over the fashion/lifestyle sphere. Granted, when most people think of online content creators, highly curated feeds with enviable hauls, saturated sunset snaps, and deliciously-looking lattes come to mind. However, there is a new era of digital models that seem to overtake Instagram’s algorithm: virtual influencers.

These hyper-realistic figures have secured a spot on many mainstream media outlets, even making appearances on Harpers Bazaar, Elle, and Vanity Fair. But what does that mean for the new age of digital advertising? Prominent brands have been using virtual influencers in their marketing campaigns for quite a while now.

Blame it on the fact that they can seamlessly transform and adapt to each individual client’s needs or simply on the array of different poses and faces they can take on to adhere to the overall concept of a project. The outcome remains the same: fashion brands are benefiting from these computer-generated figures in more ways than one.

The first-ever virtual influencer

LIL MIQUELA INSTAGRAM

During the early months of 2016, the first-ever CGI character, who quickly managed to attract millions of followers, made her appearance. The 19-year-old American influencer, Lil Miquela left everyone questioning whether or not she was a virtual creation or the actual

“girl next door” for quite some time. Commenters started to flood her Instagram account with comments and speculation. It didn’t take long for the creator of Lil Miquela to come forward and explain his reasoning.

fashion spread for the latest issue of V Magazine

Behind the CGI character who was seemingly perfectly tailored to fit the gen Z-focused social media marketing was the startup Brud. This Los Angeles-based company was on a mission to design a brand-new character inspired by both Kardashian and Marvel comics. Lil Miquela proceeded to work…

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