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We are currently witnessing a new trend in the world of fashion, social media and marketing, and we’re not sure we’re entirely comfortable with it. Over the past year, there has been a rise in CGI influencers, or digital supermodels, across instagram. Accounts such as Shudu Gram’s have sprung up with seemingly beautifully shot imagery featuring ethereal women with perfectly symmetrical faces. But not all is as it seems, the inaccessible beauties are entirely computer-generated, inserted in both rendered and real locations, sometimes even superimposed next to actual people.

After garnering 150k followers, “posing” with some of the world’s biggest supermodels and bagging lucrative influencer sponsorship packages, such as lipstick by Rhyanna, it turns out Shudu Gram is actually the CGI creation of photographer Cameron-James Wilson. And Shudu’s not the only one, Lil Miquela, a somewhat haunting render of a girl-next-door meets manga comic hero, is watched everyday by 1.5m followers, while taking them into her world of glamour and parties. The huge audiences and organic growth and engagement that these accounts have gathered is rather startling, and for some brands they’ve been a natural influencer to connect into in order to gain massive reach. But what does this mean in the grand scheme of things? Should Gigi Hadid be learning a trade in case the whole modelling thing doesn’t work out?

There’s a strange duality in play here. On the one hand, we have the rise of unrealistic beauty ideals across social media, both through CGI avatars and real people, that brands are trying to associate themselves with in a cynical attempt to boost sales. It seems to tap into our most primitive capitalist reasoning that miracle products or the perfect little black dress will bring us happiness. On the other hand though, more and more brands are pushing a sustainability agenda, striving to be more authentic, more human and connecting with their audiences in a real and engaging way. So which approach will win out? We for one champion the authentic approach and are staunch advocates for compelling story telling and brand narratives that are genuine and real. The hyper surreal avatars are surely a fad akin to the yoyo or pogs, providing momentary escapism but quickly being forgotten and replaced by another curiosity.

If like us, you believe in authentic brand stories that win fans for life, why not get in touch and we can help you find compelling ways to connect with your audience.