The world's first virtual baby influencer has arrived in Sweden and its almost-but-not-quite likeness to a human baby is seriously creeping people out.
Advertising has been a thing for as long as people have been consuming media. However, akin to every other form of media, advertising has evolved over the decades. Some of it is in your face, other forms are more subtle, and some of it is downright subliminal. So where does the fairly new concept of influencers fall on that scale?
Influencers are people hired by companies who use social media to big up certain brands. It can be subtle as influencers might use the product in a photo or video without acknowledging it, or it could be more in your face as the influencer admits what they're trying to do. The newest evolution of the influencer is someone who doesn't even exist, a virtual influencer.
The benefit of a virtual influencer is obvious. Since they're not a real person, there's no fee to pay. Beyond the cost of designing the influencer in the first place, the cost of creating your own is far cheaper than hiring a real person. However, the next evolutionary step in influencers has got people questioning whether the fad has gone a step too far.
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Äntligen❣️Det är med stor glädje vi kan presentera ICA-familjens senaste tillskott: Elis, en bebis på strax över 6 månader med en stor aptit för allt livet har att erbjuda. Oftast är hon glad och nyfiken men det är heller inte alltid lätt att vara liten i en stor värld👶🌍 På det här kontot kommer ni få följa Elis och hennes liv som inte är helt olikt andra bebisars med mat, lek, äventyr och en och annan liten kompis. Ni kommer också att få träffa fler medlemmar i hennes familj, bland annat en dietist och en farmaceut som kommer dela med sig av användbara tips och råd för att göra vardagen med småbarn enklare! Häng med!🍼
She's called Elis, and she's a six-month-old baby created by Swedish supermarket chain Ica, reports The Local. Ica is boasting that Elis is "the world's first virtual baby influencer." Looking at poor little Elis we're not sure that's something worth bragging about, and clearly not much time and effort was put into the young virtual influencer's design. Plus, as you might imagine, the internet has been having a field day with the reveal.
Some social media users have compared Elis to Chucky, while others have kept it simple and thanked Ica for creating a baby that would be haunting their next nightmare. As for how good an influencer Elis is, no publicity is bad publicity, right? The world might be talking about how weird the supermarket's virtual baby influencer looks, but that's better than not talking about her at all, we think.