Virtual influencers kept busy as jobs keep coming in
More businesses are choosing virtual influencers as the face of their brands, and the market is expected to grow rapidly.
Rozy, Reah Keem and Rui are popular names that have recently appeared in multiple business endorsements, but none of them are human.
Rozy is a virtual avatar created by Sidus Studio X, introduced as a 22-year-old fashionista that loves to jog, do yoga and travel the world.
An endorsement for Chevrolet’s Bolt electric vehicle (EV) is Rozy’s most recent advertisement deal. A promotion video was uploaded to YouTube on Aug. 10 and a commercial is slated to air on TV starting Aug. 23. Her TV commercial for Shinhan Life is one of the most well-received, with the two commercials for the insurance company uploaded to YouTube gaining a total 17.2 million views as of Aug. 13.
“We received over 100 advertising offers from companies, with some 20 of them being offers from fashion brands,” said Kim Jin-soo, CEO of Sidus Studio X. “Companies that launch products related to the MZ generation are especially interested.”
Although the virtual influencers are computer generated, they are given a vivid personality and fun characteristics that make them seem almost human. Chevrolet isn’t the only car brand that asked Rozy to endorse their product, but Sidus Studio X said Rozy specifically chose to advertise an EV because she loves to live an eco-friendly life.
As well as appearing in commercials, Instagram is another playground for the virtual Influencers.
Rozy has over 47,000 followers on Instagram, with one of her most recent posts showing her casually posing for a photo at Banyan Tree Club & Spa Seoul’s swimming pool. Another shows her enjoying a staycation at the L’Escape.
Specific endorsement fees aren’t disclosed, but Sidus Studio X announced that Rozy earned approximately 1 billion won ($855,000) this year.
“Modeling fees for virtual influencers are generally a little under 100 million won for a six-month contract,” said an official working for an advertising company. “But it’s hard to calculate exact expenses because costs such as 3-D modeling and others can vary based on advertisement types.”
Although only a few commercials are done by virtual influencers today, the number is expected to rise. According to Sidus Studio X, many companies have reached out to ask the studio to design and develop a virtual model exclusive to their brand.
Rui, a virtual influencer developed by Dob Studio, recently signed an advertisement deal with CJ OnStyle's apparel brand The AtG. A video of her singing and dancing while wearing the brand's clothes was uploaded to Rui's YouTube channel, garnering 100,000 views.
Companies find virtual influencers attractive as they are scandal-free and don’t age. Although there is a geographical limit to where human celebrities and models can go to film advertisements during the pandemic, virtual influencers are free to go wherever they want. A commercial can be filmed in a computer generated environment resembling Paris one day, and another in Seoul the next.
According to Business Insider Intelligence, $15 billion is expected to be used for influencer marketing in the United States in 2022, with Bloomberg analyzing that “a growing slice of that money belongs to virtual influencers.”
BY AHN HYO-SEONG, LEE TAE-HEE [email@example.com]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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