Today, we’re looking at the intriguing and slightly controversial universe of AI-created virtual influencers. It’s pretty mind-boggling how these “influencers” are taking the content creator scene by storm, snagging followers, and even landing deals with big brands. This week we’re unpacking this fascinating trend, questioning what it means for the future of online content, and whether authenticity is becoming a thing of the past.
How AI-Crafted Influencers are Reshaping the Content Game
Take Aitana Lopez, for instance. She has over 200,000 followers on social media. She’s posting selfies from concerts and bedroom scenes, tagging big brands left and right. But get this—she’s entirely fictional, generated using AI tools.
Big brands are shelling out serious cash, around $1,000 per post, for these virtual influencers to promote their products.
And the impact? Well, it’s real. In another example, an H&M ad featuring Kuki, another virtual influencer, reached 11 times more people at a fraction of the cost compared to traditional ads.
AI-generated influencers have arrived. Can you spot them?
That’s a game-changer for brands, cutting costs and controlling the narrative without the potential controversies of real-life influencers. Human influencers are feeling the heat, fearing their livelihoods are at risk. And there’s this eerie challenge—they’re so lifelike, it’s tough to tell they’re fake. But should they disclose their AI origins?
Should big brands disclose AI origins of partner influencers?
Well, some argue they should, but regulations around this are murky. Disclosure isn’t mandated. And get this—some of these virtual influencers even get requests to meet in person. The line between real and artificial is blurring.
While these fake personalities charge big bucks for deals, the creators of these digital avatars emphasize the importance of a human touch in storytelling. They have to seem authentic. But, there are concerns about racial representation and sexualization in these virtual personas.
There are concerns about racial representation and sexualization of virtual personas.
Many of the characters have ambiguous features which can be seen as a marketing strategy to target the broadest audience. And, we can’t ignore the debate about sexualization. While some argue these characters, frequently appearing in their underwear for example, just mirror what real-life influencers do, others see it as overly sexualizing women.
It’s a complex landscape, challenging norms, raising ethical questions, and reshaping the future of influencer marketing.
For our small business owners, remember, whether you opt for AI or not, video content rules the roost today. Tools are out there to simplify the video creation process, but personalization is key to keeping it authentic. And that’s the bottom line. AI can kickstart your content creation, but it’s your voice and brand that’ll keep it real in the long run.
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Links in this episode: AI-created “virtual influencers” are stealing business from humans