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The World Health Organization is teaming up with a popular CGI influencer named Knox Frost to help spread safe COVID-19 practices and solicit donations. Yes, that is a real sentence I just wrote.
According to a rep for the social media marketing company Influential, the collaboration is a part of WHO’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. BuzzFeed News has also learned that the work behind Frost’s campaign for WHO will be pro bono.
“Through this partnership with WHO, [Knox is] ensuring the message to stay home, stay healthy, and to donate to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund reaches even the youngest generations,” the rep said. “While Knox Frost may be a virtual human, he’s making a real world impact during this time of need.”
Frost is known as a “virtual influencer,” aka a personality on social media that’s completely digital. He takes after the likes of other stunt projects that have cropped up in the last few years like Lil Miquela and Blawko.
Frost is supposed to personify a 20-year-old male from Atlanta and currently has over 1.1 million followers on Instagram.
In early February, he — or, er, the humans behind the bot — had already began posting coronavirus-related photos and captions.
On Friday, he announced his partnership with WHO with an Instagram post caption that read, “Let’s show them younger generations are in this fight.” Frost then asked his followers to donate to the global fund, or, if you can’t donate, “show this post to your friends and family,” he wrote.
BuzzFeed News has reached out to WHO for further comment.
The marketing company believes that a robot influencer could help amplify these important messages for the Gen Z demographic, specifically.
“Virtual influencers are a part of the cultural zeitgeist, so they tend to drive headlines and awareness. They are also brand safe and not a potential liability, like a human who could say or do something to get in trouble publicly,” Ryan Detert, the CEO of the marketing company, told BuzzFeed News.
“Having a voice like Knox’s will certainly raise awareness, reinforce COVID-19 best practices, and drive donations for WHO. Gen Z and Millennials need to take this to heart,” Detert added.
Other robot influencers like Lil Miquela, who currently has 2 million human followers, has been posting quarantine-related content similar to other human influencers.
These times: They are wild.
Tanya Chen is a social news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in Chicago.
Contact Tanya Chen at [email protected]
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