Hundreds of sponsorships, thousands of followers: Why brands are turning to computer-generated influencers

It’s not just companies jumping on the bandwagon.

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) partnered virtual influencer Rozy for her “first overseas trip” in May, as part of its SingapoReimagine global campaign to showcase Singapore’s tourism offerings and to attract South Korean visitors.

“Riding on the increasing popularity of virtual avatars and the metaverse, STB collaborated with Rozy to engage ‘Generation MZ’ in South Korea, who spend most of their time on social media and are more digitally savvy,” said Ms Serene Tan, STB’s regional director for North Asia, referencing a term used to describe both millennials and Gen Zs.

“It is important to appeal to international travellers through creative storytelling, told through diverse voices such as influencers,” she said, adding that STB will continue to work with both real and virtual influencers who can tell “authentic destination stories in a creative way”.

Rozy’s posts about Singapore on garnered more than 33,000 likes on Instagram, said Ms Tan, adding that there was also strong engagement on social media, with fans expressing interest in visiting the places she had visited.


Virtual influencers are also proving to be a profitable business for companies.

South Korea’s LOCUS-X, which created Rozy, told CNA that the virtual influencer has exclusive contracts with more than 10 brands and currently has more than 150 sponsorships advertisements, adding that her profit sits at about 2 million won (US$1.4 million) a year.

“Demand was about 1 billion won in 2021 and is expected to exceed 2 billion won in 2022,” it added.

The profits from the company’s other virtual influencers who are “rookies” are about a tenth of Rozy’s, it noted.

Rozy, who became known to the public through a public TV commercial in July 2021, has in recent months featured Chevrolet’s electric utility vehicles on her platform and launched her own eco-friendly sunscreen brand.

Meanwhile, without revealing any figures, Rae’s team told CNA that she was “living quite comfortably”.

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