Friday Five creative series - part 6


Inspiration can come from anywhere, so every other week I share my Friday Five, a curation of dots for you to connect.

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From the future of computer-generated influencers to Camille Walala's mission to transform rundown streets with carbon-absorbing art, here are my favourite ideas and insights that have kept me inspired over the last two weeks.

TO FOLLOW: ALEXIS FRANKLIN

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Alexis Franklin's digital art & transfixing painting-in-progress time-lapses have recently caught the eye of a lot of big-name brands. The first was Oprah who published Franklin's portrait of Breonna Taylor on the front cover of The Oprah Magazine (which was the first time in two decades that the cover didn't feature Oprah herself). And another was Time Magazine who featured her powerful rendering of Anita Hill on their cover earlier this year.

To Experience: Selfridge's Project Earth

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Selfridges is pioneering a more sustainable future of shopping with their transformational new sustainability initiative titled "Project Earth" that aims to change the way we shop forever. To champion this change, they've revitalised their retail space by commissioning Yinka Illori and Kyle Bean to design Earth-inspired window displays, launched their first-ever "resellfridges" service where you can rent, repair and buy pre-loved clothes, and host live-stream panels with pioneering partners who share quick-fire solutions that, together with Project Earth, will make a huge long-term impact.

TO WATCH: 2020's D&AD Winners

If you missed yesterday's live stream of this year's D&AD awards, definitely watch the video on their YouTube Channel. Hosted by Kate Stanners, D&AD President and Global CCO of Saatchi & Saatchi, it's inspiring to see that while the pandemic has kept the creative industry physically distanced this year, the power of creative thinking and design is still as strong as ever🌟

TO ADMIRE: Camille Walala's Leyton High Road Makeover

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What do you do when high street shops are struggling to attract customers who are nervous about getting back out into the world again? Commission the incredible Camille Walala! Titled the Walala Parade, this coalition of eye-popping geometric shapes fill the facade of eight different buildings, making it one of London's largest public artworks🌈 Created with recycled, carbon-absorbing paint from Forest Recycling Project, the artwork gained serious green credentials and a grant of £25k from the Mayor of London to help the fundraiser meet its target.

TO THINK ABOUT: Are Computer-Generated People The Future of Influencer Marketing?

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The soar of virtual influencers has taken social by a storm, and although they're not real, their millions of followers interact with them as if they're living, breathing people. Despite the rising shift towards digital authenticity, global brands are actively choosing to collaborate with these computer-generated influencers over the real deal.

The Campaigns To Know About:

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Ikea x Imma - Imma is the lastest 'not so living' proof that global brands are choosing virtual influencers over real ones. She recently partnered with Ikea to create a phygital window display that used an amalgamation of physical props and holograms to demonstrate how Ikea transforms any space into a happy place through a 24-hour looping video in their Japanese stores.

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Calvin Klein x Lil Miquela - Lil Miquela, the most popular virtual influencer to date with 2.7m followers, recently featured in an advertisement for Calvin Klein where she models with & kisses Bella Hadid. Although these virtual influencers aren't human, they're not immune to human error. The campaign sparked a viral backlash towards Calvin Klein as the audience saw the ad as queerbaiting.

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Rihanna's Fenty Beauty x Shudu - Shudu, the world's first CGI supermodel, partnered with Fenty Beauty to advertise their lipstick Saw-C. The partnership sparked a viral conversation that attracted thousands of new consumers to follow Fenty Beauty. But in recent weeks, the creator of Shudu has received backlash for cultural appropriation, after many discovered she was designed and controlled by a white man. This resulted in insane amounts of negative press around a white man receiving monetary gain for the representation of a black woman.

Knowledge in a nutshell:

  • 🛠 They're created by combining millions of faces, gestures and personalities to create an entirely unique identity.
  • 📲The rise of virtual influencers offers brands new & innovative ways to connect with their digital native consumers who resonate with the phygital world, and more control over the outcome of the partnership looks like.
  • 👎Although you can control what virtual influencers say and do, they're not immune from backlash and bad press - they're made by humans after all.
  • ⚠️ With the social space moving towards authenticity and transparency, brands need to carefully consider the ethics behind their campaigns when partnering with virtual influencers, particularly avoiding setting unrealistic beauty standards and cultural appropriation.