A team of digitally-charged people are entering the virtual space, taking over feeds once dominated by music artists, celebrities, and models–with more cropping up each month. What's different is that these brand spokespersons are not actually real people.
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The proliferation of avatars in the rapidly developing metaverse, one of our generation's most radical developments in technology, is already driving some impressive results for all things Web3. Various industries have quickly pivoted and started working on metaverse-centric products, from e-sports to music, to real estate and even fashion.
Brands like Gucci, Givenchy, Moschino, Hugo Boss, Polo Ralph Lauren, Puma, Balmain, and Prada were quick to board the hype train, changing up their marketing game and engaging their meta communities through the leading influencers of this space–hyper-realistic CGI humans aka meta-fluencers.
When Miquela Sousa (lilmiquela), the world's first computer-generated social media influencer, burst into the social media scene in April 2016, people were taken aback by how eerily lifelike she was. Created by Brud co-founders Trevor McFedries and Sara Decou, Miquela is an effortlessly hip Brazilian-American 19-year-old Instagram model who hails from Downey, California.
The initial reception for her debut? Problematic fakery, uncomfortable attractiveness, a danger to children, have the potential to easily manipulate young people, and a threat to their wellbeing. "There’s no way that hot cartoons are actually the future of fashion advertising," one article said.
She has since amassed a large social media following (over three million Instagram followers at the time of writing) and profiled by a number of publications. She has also been pictured with a slew of celebrities including Diplo, Millie Bobby Brown, Yuna, Saweetie, Bella Hadid, and Nile Rogers, and spotted decked out in luxury brands such as Chanel, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Prada, and Fendi.
Her sponsored posts currently go for US$8,500 a pop and there are plans for further evolution of her character arc. Brud-owner Dapper Labs aims to make lilmiquela more community-driven. enabling fans to use tokens on the blockchain to vote on her character arc, including deciding which photos to post on social media.