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Discussion – 


There’s Something Strange about Kenna

AI Instagram Influencers

Most will scroll right by (or drop an absent-minded comment) on this Essence Cosmetics Insta-announcement of new influencer/intern, Kenna.

What is she like? Kenna matches the Essence Cosmetics demographic perfectly. (Perhaps a little too perfectly?) She’s a 21-year old who’s into beauty and fashion. She cares about the environment and animal rights (Essence does not test on animals) and she’s living on a strapped budget.

So… what’s weird about that?

The strange thing about Kenna is that she’s not real. She was created using 3D technology by digital marketing agency, Kubb&co. Kenna is the latest in a line of virtual influencers representing and hyping brands on Instagram.

Who else? Lil Miquela is a computer-generated influencer with 1.8M followers on Insta and hit songs on Spotify. Miquela has done ad spots for brands like Calvin Klein and Prada. Shudu (200K followers) bills herself (or her creators do) as The World’s First Digital Supermodel.

And lest you think that robo-influencers are confined to the fashion and beauty space, KFC has thrown their hat in the ring as well. Yes, a virtual Colonel Sanders who peddles 9-piece buckets of Extra Crispy and does partner ads with TurboTax and Old Spice.

Instagram Influencers that are AI

But virtual influencers don’t actually get results, right?

Au contraire. In a lot of cases, these virtual influencers are seeing 3X the engagement rates of their skin-and-bones competitors. And while fabrications like Lil Miquela or noonoouri are clearly computer-generated, brands like KFC and Essence Cosmetics are creating more human-like brandbots that are difficult impossible to distinguish from the real thing. Scoot over, Kylie.

theCLIKK’s Take: It’s a brave new (West)world. Computer-generated brand influencers will only become more widespread. After all, once you’ve invested in a bot, it doesn’t age, demand a raise, or complain when Instagram takes away Like counts.

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Russ Henneberry is Founder of theCLIKK, an email first publication about digital business. He is an entrepreneur, speaker and author of Digital Marketing for Dummies. Russ has certified thousands of marketing professionals and business owners in disciplines including content marketing, search marketing and social media marketing.


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