Have you heard about Lil Miquela yet? If you haven’t, brace yourself, because CGI Influencers are taking over. For those of you who do not know what CGI means (I didn’t), CGI stands for Computer Generated Imaging. Big fashion companies like Vogue and Balmain are betting that these kinds of CGI Influencers/ Models are going to be the next big thing in Digital Marketing. Which seems a little odd because they aren’t real people.
Marketing and advertising from the dawn of time, have always tried to incorporate a human element or add a human connection, to make it seem like they are not trying to blatantly sell their consumers something.
This is kind of why they get a bad reputation Since they try to manipulate and invoke emotion but in the grand scheme of things are focused on the numbers they receive at the end of the day. This is not true for every company, don’t @ me. But of course, companies care if their ad will make them a lot of money, it’s just business. If you take a look back at the propaganda for the wars women and men were represented as illustrations.
These illustrations were made to either look as realistic as possible or just look like straight up cartoons. It wasn’t until film and photography came along that had people in aw because it made ads feel more real and therefore more realistic. Photography and film added this much needed human element that an illustration, although good, just could not provide! (If you want to take a look at this time period in our history I really recommend watching the first three seasons of Mad Men, it’s worth it).
So why are we going back to an element that is less human… because to be honest, this feels like a step backward. Speaking as a woman that was raised on print media and digital media that set unrealistic standards for girls to be thin, have flawless skin, hair, etc. Is someone who is the literal definition of unrealistic a smart move, especially for big fashion corporations?
I am not sure that people have calculated the risks of this kind of influencer and how detrimental it can really be to society. Or is it the exact opposite?! Maybe companies are beginning to go this route because it would be so ridiculous to compare yourself to someone who isn’t real, BUT haven’t we been doing that already… does a CGI influencer make it more acceptable then?
With everything in life, we have to try and see where the other side is coming from. This type of influencer is giving brands an opportunity to mold and create a storyline like they have never done before, on a platform that reaches everyone! In my opinion, someone like Lil Miquela is probably someone my little cousins would love to see and follow because they have been raised in a very digital world.
Whereas I, a millennial who has experienced this digital evolution and has been exposed to a world less digitally advanced. I am picturing this and the increasing popularity of augmented reality, alternate reality and virtual reality games as the stepping stone of a completely digital world and it somewhat frightens me. Most likely due to movies like Ready Player One or I, Robot.
Miquela already has 1.4 million followers on Instagram and receives hundreds of comments engaging with “her” every time she posts a new photo or video. Her page makes it seem like she is a real human going all around New York. She even has a real life, non-CGI boyfriend.
I guess my real question is what does this mean for the future of media… but more importantly, where will this new digital era take us? I guess we’ll just have to follow them and find out!
Content courtesy of Katerina Vazquez, marketing coordinator at Sohuis
Contributing Author, Katerina Vazquez
Katerina’s mission is to leave a mark in this world through her creativity or any other means she is capable of. She started off with a love for Journalism, which then grew into the areas of Design and TV Production. The passion she’s had for these three areas naturally evolved into a love for Marketing, where she serves as the marketing coordinator for the Sohuis team.
Katerina possesses a natural curiosity for the world and is a firm believer of the power of connection through media, experiences and new discoveries.