The Artificial
Influencer!

The year is 2019, and never has such a large part of the communicative space been occupied by digital influences. We have Disney making a ‘live-action’ Lion King movie directed purely in virtual reality, we’ve got Harry Potter entering the Augmented Reality game, and most importantly, influencers are now living purely in the digital realm.

In May 2019, Calvin Klein shocked the world when supermodel, Bella Hadid, kissed influencer, Miquela Sousa, in a commercial for the clothing brand. The media stunt wasn’t well-received, and Calvin Klein had to apologize for “queerbaiting”, and while that entire dilemma is interesting (and something we focused on in our pride month article), it’s more interesting to take a look at the influencer who teamed up with Bella Hadid to make the commercial in the first place – because something isn’t quite normal about Lil Miquela, yet she still does a lot of powerful sponsored content for brands.

LIL MIQUELA HAS MORE THAN 1.600.000 FOLLOWERS GO CHECK OUT HER INSTAGRAM

1,600,000 followers
Lil Miquela was featured on Elle Magazine on the 28th of June, #TheInternetIsNow. She is the ambassador for Samsung’s new Galaxy campaign, #TeamGalaxy. She’s a pioneer on gay-rights, and so much more. Her Instagram has acquired more than 1.6 million followers and massive amounts of likes, comments, and shares.

The only thing ‘weird’ about Lil Miquela’s superstardom is that she isn’t real. She’s made by a Silicon Valley company, who specializes in computer-generated images. She was “born” in 2016, and quickly became an internet sensation. She joins a growing number of digitally curated social marketers – aka influencers. She’s an entirely digital “robot”. And she has a lot of followers!

Born to super stardom
Lil Miquela, full name Miquela Sousa, was created with the sole purpose of becoming a superstar. She claims to be from Downey, California – and the brands behind her (she’s mostly been associated with Club 404, Bauer, and Silicon Valley) knew exactly how to achieve her stardom; they made her a singer. Miquela has been featured together with celebrities such as Diplo, Molly Soda, and Jake Dawson – and has been interviewed by The Guardian, BBC, Vogue, Buzzfeed, and many more.

By exposing her to all of these different kinds of outlets, Lil Miquela’s Instagram page had just about 1.000.000 followers before her first song even released. In 2017 she started releasing music featuring some prominent names in the industry, and is now a full-on superstar. On her Instagram she describes herself as a musician, change-seeker, and robot. This open take on her existence has made her very interesting – both for brands and followers, and is part of the reason why her stock keeps rising – even as her 15 minutes of fame seem to come to an end. The only question remaining is whether Lil Miquela has the contingency to stay relevant as an influencer.

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The future of digital influencer marketing
Lil Miquela does a lot of sponsored content, and why brands would even consider promoting their products through digitally curated social media presences is not hard to see. The value of influencer marketing has been proven time and time again, however, this is next-level stuff. Obviously, using Lil Miquela as an influencer is much closer to traditional marketing than the organic feel of ‘classic’ influencers. Miquela doesn’t have a life like normal influencers, yet she still stacks up over 50,000 likes and comments on most of her sponsored Instagram content.

 

Brands clearly see the value of advertising through this unique digital opportunity, and it’s not hard to see how their calculations will make a positive impact on their brand recognition. It’s not certain for how long the newsworthy value of Miquela will be a good marketing strategy, but then there will probably be a new digital superstar in the mix. And since these ‘people’ don’t have a real-life, they’re not going to struggle with losing their stardom in the same way. The influencers with no life are here to stay, and they’ll probably end up contesting with “real” influencers.

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