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Oct 28, 2022
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Opinions divided as M&S launches virtual influencer

Published
Oct 28, 2022

M&S has added an AR-powered ‘virtual influencer’ to its M&S Insiders line-up that previously used only selected staff as influencers. The move is part of a drive to reach out to younger, tech-obsessed consumers.


M&S



But the move appears to have divided opinion. For instance, while there are a large number (in the thousands) of likes for the new influence influencer on Instagram, there are also a large number of negative comments suggesting that the retailer should stick to real human beings.

The influencer can be seen on @marksandspencer_mira. ‘She’ was developed by the retailer along with creative tech agency Happy Finish using photography and CGI. 

The company said: “Introducing... Mira, a digital designer at M&S and the latest Insider. She'll be showing you her favourite pieces for the season ahead over on her account.

“You might notice something different about her to the other M&S Insiders. Guessed it yet? She was created by a computer. She actually lives between the virtual and the physical world and her name, MIRA, stands for: Marks & Spencer, Influencer, Reality, Augmented. 

“She's the first M&S virtual influencer and is here to share all of her chic fashion and home finds with you. Welcome!”

The virtual character will create "real-world" content but she’s not the only new persona joining the M&S line-up, despite being the most newsworthy one. 

There are actually five new additions to M&S Insiders (covering menswear, kidswear and beauty), for a total of 13, who include store assistants, stylists, buyers and designers. 

Between them, they’re responsible for style tips, product recommendations and a variety of social content for their followers. Do they have an impact? The retailer says they beat external influencers with an average 30% higher engagement rate.

Around a quarter of Britons say social media influences them to buy clothes and the additional of the new virtual influencer means M&S will be able to use her to tap into trending conversations among the young consumers that it has’t always managed to reach out to successfully.

Director of marketing for clothing and home, Anna Braithwaite, said the inclusion of Mira into new influencer cohort is a sign of the retailer becoming “bolder in experimenting with emerging technology and trends to inspire our customers – whether that's our Live Shopping events or our expert online consultation services, such as digital bra fit”.

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