CGI Influencers: The Newest Trend

Have you ever been scrolling through Instagram and thought there is no way that person is real? Well, you might be right. CGI influencers are taking over and some of them are even working for big-time brands. Essence just recently introduced their own influencer and “intern” Keena December 4th on their Instagram and even made her an account. She is going to be giving behind-the-scenes of product development and discuss her life as an intern. She also talks about different issues like being environmentally friendly and other things her audience cares about. 

CGI Young Colonel Sanders took over KFC’s Instagram for a bit in April where he posted photos with motivational captions and behind-the-scenes of KFC. He also posted a few promotional ads for Dr. Pepper, Casper and Old Spice but disclaimed that it was paid advertisement.

One of the biggest CGI influencers is Miquela Sousa or more commonly known as LilMiquela on Instagram. Miquela has 1.8 million followers and 649 posts as of December 6th. She was invented by Brud, a company in Los Angeles that specializes in robotics and artificial intelligence. They have been very secretive about who they are and their thinking. The only thing they released about themselves is a google doc, which still barely answers any questions. The one thing they did say to questions they get about if Miquela is real is she is “as real a Rhianna.”

She can be seen posing with celebrities like Millie Bobby Brown, Vashtie and many more. She is often seen on Instagram with other CGI influencers like Bermuda (180k followers) and Blawko (145K followers) who were also created by Brud. She also posts about her “boyfriend” Nicki who is a real man. Some of the big brands Miquela has partnered with are Prada and Nike and has posted a lot for Samsung’s Galaxy and more recently Calvin Klein. She even appeared in a Calvin Klein commercial with Bella Hadid.

Many people have brought up that CGI influencers can be dangerous because they don’t have the same rules when it comes to ads and sponsorships as real influencers. This means they do not have to disclose when they are promoting something for an advertisement. Another big issue is that some people do not realize these influencers are robots which can be misleading. Miquela did not disclose that she was a robot until April 2018 and there are still people in her comments unaware that she is a robot. People think this can be dangerous to younger viewers who look up to and compare themselves to these influencers. Others say that there is nothing wrong with using a CGI influencer because they believe there is already so many fake aspects about influencers.The crazy part is CGI influencers have been getting more engagement than real ones. In a study conducted by HypeAuditor they found that CGI influencers get almost three times more engagement than real influencers. This can be because they are specifically designed with data to be liked or because people are so intrigued by this new trend.