It’s no secret that people create a different version of themselves for the internet, often an ideal ‘them’ that’s fit for social media. With a bit of business savvy and some decent branding, people even make money doing it by partnering with brands for sponsored content.
Now imagine brand partnerships with Prada’s AW 18 collection, and raising six million dollars in funding from silicone valley. That’s quite a result. Apart from those born with the last name Jenner or Kardashian, it’s probably one of the most successful influencers so far.
She’s called Miquela, and she’s completely virtual. Miquela is the creation of ‘transmedia studio’ Brud, who came up with a 3D generated influencer that, as of today, boasts 1.5 million followers on Instagram.
It’s a pretty unique concept to create a social media account, with a history of posts and character arc, just for Instagram. But those with 3D graphic design skills could create an influencer, as an amalgamation of two creative industries.
Renault have their own virtual ambassador
The idea of a created character isn’t entirely new, in fiction this idea has been around for a while, with Blade Runner, I, Robot and Humans all imagining what it would be like if human-androids were real.
But with the internet, it’s entirely possible for those with 3D graphic design skills to create a ‘person’ for whatever reason they like. Car manufacturer Renault’s new advertising campaign for the Renault Kadjar, uses their own ‘virtual ambassador’.
Renault tries to show that driving the car experience for someone to Liv (name alluding to the word ‘live’), and over a series of adverts, Liv will gain more human characteristics before finally becoming a ‘person’.
In an ‘interview‘ with ‘Liv’, she speaks about being prepared to experience real emotions and that, even with all the knowledge by being virtual, the experience and feelings are the most important things.
The music industry Is also using AI to create sounds, rather than specific personalities and artists have started using machines as a proxy to create new nonhuman-music, with some strange results.
AI is still in its infancy
Using AI in the advertising and creative industries is in its early days and social media presents the perfect opportunity to monetise this idea. Will it be a gimmick that naturally runs it’s course, or could more sophisticated online characters grow that seemingly take on a life of their own?
Right now, CG Characters seem like a creative way of advertising products or an ingenious way for the creatively minded to make money with brand partnerships. The ambiguity around ‘are they real, are they not’ is the reason they are so interesting, opposed to, say, a cartoon influencer.
These characters can be inserted into the real world so easily, and there’s a number of storylines they could undergo. This is exemplified by the narrative arc Renault’s ‘Liv’ is currently undergoing.
However, there have been controversies around CG characters taking roles from real life models. A white photographer was called out for creating a black 3D model that was seen as taking work from real models.
There’s a world of possibilities for people to take on in this field, and it will be interesting to see how those working in advertising and marketing rack their brains for interesting uses.