The virtual idol AYAYI, launched by Shanghai-based digital human specialist RM Group in 2021, partnered up with Japanese cosmetics brand Shiseido to make her first-ever livestream appearance.
On July 25, AYAYI appeared in Shiseido’s livestream room on the e-commerce site Tmall alongside a human anchor. Her livestream debut comes alongside the launch of four virtual spokespeople to promote the brand’s Ultimune collection on Xiaohongshu.
Shiseido also explored the connection between AI and cosmetics at its Beauty in Progress talk in Shanghai on July 22. The speakers included Liu Qing, a professor in political philosophy at East China Normal University, and the artist and model Xiang Xiejing.
RM Group says virtual influencers should be used as just one element in a multi-faceted digital marketing campaign as they lack the relatability of real people. Stories created around the virtual influencers are where the technology can have the most marketing impact.
Based on this viewpoint, it is challenging to see how virtual influencers can slot well into the world of livestreaming, which relies heavily on authentic charm, persuasiveness, and an understanding of the real experience of using products. The use of digital humans and AI in commercial livestreaming is not yet widespread, but some tech companies in China are already working hard at developing better AI-powered virtual livestreamers, with several major consumer companies already signed on for the new service.