12 March 2020
Hi the MLE,
First, for those who don’t know, Miquela is a CGI virtual influencer.
“I’m a 19-year old musician change seeker taco truck expert.”
One of Time Magazine’s Most Influential People on the Internet 2018. Massive following on Instagram, of course. But what makes her even more bizarre is when she comes to life on YouTube all animated and human-like.
She is the primary product of a company based in LA called “Brud,” with over 40 employees. Of course the company who made her has gone to great lengths to remain hidden… What are they motivations behind creating Miquela? Well, it’s a business, so making money is the main objective. Brud is valued at 125 million dollars.
Like most influencers, she makes a lot of money selling products. Image above has her and Bella Hadid “Getting Surreal” selling Calvin Klein. She also makes a ton of cash promoting various events, like SXSW. Not to mention her music that garners a lot of attention, with hit songs with millions of streams. The list goes on…
Currently Brud has two other characters as well, Bermuda and Blawko, with more in the works. Of course, each addresses a different target market, rather than competing with consumers, together they appeal to a greater consumer base.
Altogether, it’s a brilliant business model, and it is not surprising that it is also extremely lucrative. One of the founders managed the musician Banks before the CGI musician Miquela - I would love to talk to him about his experiences with human vs CGI.
It seems that real influencers and CGI influencers are exactly the same in most ways. They are both carefully crafted into a particular character. They use the same tactics and scripts to make people feel really connected to them. Can you tell which of the below is from a human or from Miquela? And have you not heard influencers say stuff like this a million times already?
“I’m gonna tell you a story that’s super embarrassing and made me sad for a minute, but maybe some of y’all can relate.”
“The fucked up thing is that if sharing it can help someone else whose gone through something similar feel less alone, then it’s worth it.”
However, CGI characters like Miquela have many advantages. They are free from all the cost and hassle of a human celeb. Brud does not have to pay her a salary, they have complete control over her actions, and she can work around the clock. No need to worry about a troubled personal life, any health problems, or getting caught by the press doing something stupid, etc, etc. And, thank God, she will never grow old or get fat (well not unless it's part of the script).
So will CGI celebs replace real celebs in the future? My guess would be yes. In fact, it is already happening right now. A Fullscreen study found that 42% of Gen Z and Millennials have followed an influencer on social media who they did not know what CGI. But is this really that surprising with apps like Facetune making people look like CGI?