The online fashion store making us question reality with AI influencers

Date Brand Companies involved Influencers involved
June 10th, 2019 YOOX
The online fashion store making us question reality with AI influencers

When I accidentally landed on YOOX’s Instagram page, I thought: “Wow! What a clever, personal touch for a brand - employing an in-house influencer to share her favourite products”. By the time I was deep in their grid, I realised I should’ve gone to Specsavers.

The face of the brand, named Daisy, is a digital avatar. She has her own opinions and quirks and even her own influencer friends, allowing her to interact with users in an almost-human manner. I’m obsessed. Let’s take a closer look.

Who's involved?

YOOX, one half of the Yoox Net-a-Porter group, is ‘the world’s leading online lifestyle store for fashion, design and art’.

Established in 2000, its shopping experience is designed around the element of playful and eclectic discovery, aimed primarily at millennials who express individuality unrestricted by seasonal fashions. The brand created a CGI influencer of their own, known as Daisy, who has become the face of YOOX.

But the brand also invests in real-life influencer partnerships, in traditional sponsored Instagram posts like this one with lifestyle influencer Diletta Amenta. And sometimes, fascinatingly, Daisy even gets involved - like this partnership with New York Times bestselling author Aimee Song, and this one with social media star Karen Wazen Bakhazi.

What’s the big deal with Daisy?

Despite the human warmth and apparent connection in Daisy’s posts, it’s worth reminding ourselves that she’s not a sentient being. Do you know what influencers without thoughts of their own can’t do? Anything the brand doesn’t want them to.

They can’t post anything that doesn’t fit organically with the brand’s style or voice, nor can they break ties with the brand and become the face of a rival fashion store. Daisy is the perfect influencer because her DNA (in other words, coding) is designed by and for VOOX.

A collab between human and AI. Instagram: Aimee Song

How does Daisy partner with real-life influencers?

VOOX has a few methods of collaboration on Instagram. By far the most popular are partnerships where digital Daisy gets into a shot with a real-life influencer. This collaboration with Aimee Song (pictured above) received more than 45K likes.

Modeling a VOOX leather ensemble, Aimee shared the image with her 5.3m followers, along with the reality-warping caption: ‘Finally got to meet Daisy IRL!!’. There’s no arguing it adds a more interesting dimension to influencer shots we’ve seen done to death for years now, appealing to a younger, digitally-driven audience.

Equally as intriguing is her post in matching denim dungarees with Karen Wazen Bakhazi, which received more than 16,500 likes. Engagement is high, either with heart emojis or curious users trying to figure out if Daisy is a real person. Despite baffled users, it doesn’t fully take the focus from the fashion - plenty of comments are still related to the products advertised.

Can Daisy compete with real influencers?

Blending virtual technology, creativity and trends give modern consumers a more curious and compelling experience.

Do you know what influencers without thoughts of their own can’t do? Anything the brand doesn’t want them to.

Using a virtual spokesperson certainly doesn’t humanise the brand - a trend every corporation is leaning towards - and it will never replace the power of real human recommendations. But it certainly shakes up the staleness of the influencer landscape in its own unique way.

The drawback of Daisy is that social media users can (hopefully) see that whatever comes out of her CGI mouth is the brand talking. She also presents a whole new level of unrealistic beauty standards that goes beyond photoshopping models - which can venture into toxic territories.

And of course, few businesses can actually afford the technology to create a digital spokesperson and replicate her success anyway.

But there’s no denying that Daisy is a novelty. She’s designed according to current trends, providing a fresh, fun way to advertise clothing. I follow VOOX on Instagram, not because I’m interested in its products - I barely follow any fashion houses or stores - but because I’m intrigued with Daisy and the future of influencer marketing.

And I think other social media users, who aren’t fashion-orientated, will follow and share for similar reasons: the bizarre magnetism of Daisy and the genius fusion of reality and technology.

Staff Writer