YNOT recently reported on an interesting marketing trend gaining popularity — companies aligning with artificial intelligence-driven, CGI virtual influencers. Or, creating their own.
Campaigns like those associated with Miquela Sousa, Liam Nikuro, Laila Blue, Imma and Koffi Gram and YouPorn’s Jedy Vales all (apparently) demonstrate that one does not need to be human to be a star on social media.
Now, xHamster is also jumping on the digital influencer bandwagon.
Reportedly using survey responses from over 50,000 visitors, xHamster has created a user-generated woman-avatar that represents the combined desires of the global community. “Shy Yume” — a 25-year-old “Eurasian bisexual” — is the new public face of the site and will interact with users over social media and beyond. She debuted on Instagram earlier this week.
“We’re so pleased to welcome Shy to the xHamster family,” said Alex Hawkins, Vice President of xHamster. “She is the representation of our community’s collective [identity], and we look forward to having her grow with us and our users. She is the Galatea to our users’ Pygmalion.”
xHamster claims their survey results were gathered from over 50,000 men, women and non-binary respondents located in over 150 countries. Respondents were asked to detail specific physical characteristics of their “dreamgirl,” from hair color to eye color to breast size to age — as well as other characteristics, such as feminist identification. Globally, they claim, 43 percent of users felt the dreamgirl should be a feminist. This figure was skewed lower, in part, by lower levels of support in the US (36 percent) and Germany (25 percent).
Further, xHamster stated that most users did not request large or augmented breasts or a tiny waist. Most users instead said they wanted a woman who was “curvy” but had an average-sized breast, rear and waist.
“This [collection of responses] shows that consumers are shifting away from cartoonish proportions, in favor of someone who is a more realistic, naturally proportioned woman,” said Hawkins. “We hope that Shy can present a face and body to xHamster users that is forward thinking, and not some media-produced fantasy.”
The irony of a CGI creation reflecting desires for more “realistic, naturally proportioned” women!
In many ways, the introduction of a CGI brand influencer makes sense. Though certainly there are upfront development and sustained maintenance costs associated with creating one of these characters, these fees may pale in comparison to the costs associated with paying an actual human for this type of spokeswork. Further, though certainly a company’s internal marketing may take a misstep, creating a brand ambassador who only comments when permitted is a savvy way to reduce the probability of an influencer going off the rails on Twitter or saying something off-mark to the press.
All this, and yet, opting for a CGI creation — one that will certainly hold sway over many of today’s consumers — says so much about the (in)authenticity of marketing and brand relations overall.
Interviews with Yume are available upon request. Users can “meet” Yume on Instagram: instagram.com/shy.yume