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Standing tall in a virtual world

Standing tall in a virtual world

Virtual influence r marketing has grown by leaps and bounds globally in the past few years. Experts in Hong Kong have called for laws to check online misinformation and fraud to protect consumers. Wang Yuk e reports from Hong Kong.

‘Hi, this is Ruby 9 100 M. Nice to talk to you!” A soft, amicable voice was heard from the other end of the line. “Ruby 9 100 M is my virtual being. She’s my emotional safety valve,” says Ruby Gloom.

The virtual social media  like most human beings, is squeamish about hostile and scathing comments from the audience she had to wrestle with when she was a real-life.

Ruby’s transformation from a human  to a virtual being, with her niche in digital art creation, makes her stand out from the saturated social media influencing sphere and enables her to claw back what she was worth and had lost when she presented herself as a real-life key opinion leader.

“The brands that approached me before usually wanted me to do seeding or attend events. It was almost like I was just one of them in the giant  pool,” giggles Ruby.

But now, the brands approach Ruby for branding and specific marketing strategies using digital art, where she can flex her muscles and use her creative mind to fulfill their demands, as well as her self-value.

 marketing has boomed into a gargantuan industry worth an estimated $16.4 billion globally this year, compared with $1.7 billion in 2016 and $9.7 billion in 2020, according to a report by  Marketing Hub. Brands and  have formed a symbiotic relationship. As fatigue sets in, virtual marketing becomes the norm with more than 150 computer-generated imagery cropping up and going down well with brands and social media consumers.

Toward the met averse

The past five years have seen a dramatic shift in terms of how brands perceive virtual  marketing — from being scornful and dismissive to being intrigued but cringing away from giving it a try, to taking the plunge and pushing the creative envelope with their own avatar as we see today — observes executive creative director at Ensemble Worldwide.

, who was involved in creating Puma’s virtual  Maya, says the initial hesitance of brands was justifiable as virtual r marketing was still in its infancy. “Introducing Maya was quite an eye-opening textbook example for our clients who realized that using an avatar for advertising is not impossible,” she says.

Brands also woke up to the fickle factor in human whose unpredictable scandals could blemish their reputation, with their money for 

r marketing going down the drain. This,  says, affects brands pretty much in Southeast Asia, particularly Malaysia and Indonesia, where “celebrity culture” prevails.

Currently, brands across Asia, including Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and even Thailand, are in a frenzy trying to create their own virtual ambassadors, says  The activity is so feverish it’s a race in which “no one would disclose the timelines, partners or components in creating them”.

 

“We’re marching into a virtual landscape, thanks to the  where virtual will constantly evolve,” says . “At the end of the day, we will embrace the top-of-the-line virtual  who act, talk, walk and live a life just like a human being.”

In Ruby’s case, she has been approached by up to 40 brands so far. “This gives me plenty of freedom to create,” she says. For example, on the Adidas  shoes promotional project, “they gave me almost complete freedom with the digital content. I wanted to make a music video and they were cool with that,” enthuses Ruby. She treasures her full-time virtual influencing job. “Ya, I have quite a nice income!”

 

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