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TheCurrent Debate: Is there real value in CGI models?

Balmain CGI Models
Balmain CGI Models

CGI models are having a moment in luxury fashion right now, but it’s up for debate as to whether they hold true value for the brands embracing them, according to the latest episode of the Innovators podcast by TheCurrent.

Co-hosts Liz Bacelar and Rachel Arthur, who discuss various technologies pertinent to the industry every month on this show, bring opposing viewpoints to the table.

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CGI or virtual models have been used in fashion advertising campaigns to an increasing degree over the past few years, with big name brands including Louis VuittonPrada and Balmain all employing them. Some of those involved, including one called Lil Miquela, and another named Shudu, have generated enormous buzz and impressively large social media followings as a result, as though they were indeed influencers in their own right.

Lil Miquela for UGG
Lil Miquela for UGG

Most recently, Lil Miquela featured in UGG’s 40th anniversary campaign, blending in seamlessly alongside two real-life influencers as though she were a natural part of the cast. For the unsuspecting onlooker, it’s not immediately clear she’s not.

One of the questions raised during the episode is whether such a move is merely about gaining from some of the hype such models currently present, or if they can in fact drive ROI for the brands making use of them long term. Rachel presents some interesting statistics that show how engagement of for CGI remains significantly lower than any example of a ‘human’ influencer, but Liz counters that view with the argument that what we’re looking at here is a form of artistic expression.

The duo also dive into what such flawless representations of women mean for beauty ideals in the era of fake news we currently live in, as well as the notion that we may all have a CGI or avatar version of ourselves in the future, not least the real life influencers who could ultimately gain increased revenue opportunities for themselves, even posthumously.

Catch up with all of our episodes of the Innovators podcast by TheCurrent here. The series is a weekly conversation with visionaries, executives and entrepreneurs. It’s backed by TheCurrent, a consultancy transforming how consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

social media

Ugg celebrates autumn’s arrival with custom Snapchat lens

Ugg Snapchat
The Ugg Snapchat lens

Ugg has become the latest brand to launch a custom Snapchat lens, doing so to celebrate the start of the new season.

Available for 24-hours on the app worldwide, it features a tumble of autumnal leaves, earmuffs and mini Ugg boots that appear when the user opens their mouth. At the top of the image is the line: “Finally Ugg season”.

“We’re the reason for the season,” the brand otherwise writes in a promotional post about the initiative. It’s using the hashtag #Uggseason to promote it.

The sponsored move ties to the second installment of the brand’s digital campaign featuring model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. She features in a short video called “Rosie’s Everyday Survival” highlighting various different ways to wear Uggs with her autumn wardrobe.

Ugg Snapchat lens
Fashion & Mash founder, Rachel Arthur, trying out the Ugg Snapchat lens

With the Snapchat campaign, Ugg follows in the footsteps of brands including L’Oréal Paris and Benefit Cosmetics. According to AdWeek, they can cost anywhere in the region of $450,000 to $750,000 for big-ticket days like holidays or events.

Sponsored Snapchat lenses are reportedly played with for 20 seconds on average, (though I spent significantly longer as you can tell from the pictures above). One from Gatorade in the US was reportedly used 165 million times in two days.

We’ve also seen innovative uses of the platform by retailers of late, including River Island in the UK and Ann Taylor Loft in the US. On top of that, New York designer Misha Nonoo used the platform to showcase a “live lookbook” during fashion week.