The rise of AI-generated influencers: A new phase in marketing

Published in Computational Sciences
The rise of AI-generated influencers: A new phase in marketing
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In the evolving landscape of social media, a new breed of influencers is emerging: AI-generated personas. Crafted with meticulous details and driven by AI algorithms, Maia Lima, Alba Renai, Lil Miquela, and Aitana Lopez are examples of these virtual human replicas that are redefining marketing and the concept of social media stardom.  

The birth of Aitana Lopez

Back in 2022, during a challenging period, Aitana Lopez was designed and brought to life by the Spanish agency, The Clueless, as a virtual model crafted to perfection. Facing cancellations of projects involving real-life influencers, The Clueless opted to create its own virtual influencer, one it could entirely control. After months of collaboration between designers, developers, and AI specialists, Aitana Lopez came into existence as a 25-year-old with vibrant pink hair and a gamer aesthetic. She has amassed till now over 300,000 followers on Instagram. Her persona revolves around gaming, fitness, and cosplay. Her photos, created through AI tools and enhanced with Photoshop, display a strikingly realism. In just a few short months, Aitana skyrocketed to social media stardom. With a mere ninety posts, she garners thousands of likes on Instagram. Her stylish photos set against dreamy backdrops captivate audiences. But Aitana influence extends beyond Instagram; platforms like Fanvue also feature her exclusive content. Surprisingly, despite her virtual existence, Aitana even receives private messages from unaware celebrities, underlining her captivating allure.

The lucrative virtual business persona

Aitana allure stems not just from her virtual existence but also from her representation of a new frontier in influencer marketing. She offers The Clueless an influencer devoid of human constraints, available around the clock without demands for pay raises or diva-like behavior. Moreover, brands rush to collaborate. Aitana can gain up to tens of thousands of euros per month from advertising campaigns, a windfall for The Clueless, which now has a highly profitable virtual image bank. Unlike traditional shoots, Aitana sessions require no studios, photographers, or even her physical presence. Weekly, her team conceptualizes activities and selects posts. Aitana is seamlessly integrated into backgrounds using AI tools, with images edited to convey her virtual presence convincingly. At The Clueless, every detail contributes to making Aitana as lifelike as possible. Her wardrobe and hairstyle reflect current trends, while her interests in gaming and fitness attract a wide audience. Even her astrological sign, Scorpio, is carefully chosen. The agency analyzes statistics to determine the most engaging topics, aiming to create the illusion of a real-life persona to captivate the followers.

AI-generated influencers are marking a new era in influencer marketing as "brands are increasingly turning to AI-generated models for their cost and time efficiency". Some view this as a threat to real influencers, potentially facing gradual replacement. Others believe that the virtual will remain confined to certain advertising purposes, with the authenticity of real individuals remaining unparalleled. Regardless, Aitana, along with other virtual influencers, demonstrates the blurring boundaries between reality and virtuality. As technology advances, discerning truth from fiction becomes increasingly challenging. Thus, brands are ready to capitalize on these developments, whether controversial or not.

Fooocus: The tool behind

Fooocus is the AI-based image generating software that were used to generate Aitana Lopez. Here are the steps to create your influencer using Fooocus:

  • Click here to navigate to the Jupyter Notebook “fooocus_colab.ipynb”.
  • Execute the cell by clicking on the “Run” button.

  • Click on the link in front of "Running on public URL".

  • Write the description of the persona you wish to generate using Fooocus. In the video below, an example of generating a girl with the following traits is recorded:

 Mixed race with light brown curly hair and hazel eyes, Radiant smile with dimples, Warm, olive-toned skin, Expressive eyebrows that frame her face, Full lips with a natural pink hue, Defined cheekbones adding a touch of elegance, Curvaceous figure with a healthy, athletic build, Graceful posture exuding confidence, 27-year-old girl.

 The generated images are as follows:

In addition to the description of the virtual persona, you can also specify locations (restaurant, beach, …) and activities (sport, driving, …).

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