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LG's virtual influencer to make debut as a musician

By Park Eel-kyung & Kim Tae-gyu, UPI News Korea
LG's virtual influencer to make debut as a musician
Mystic Story founder Yoon Jong-shin poses with LG Electronics’ virtual influencer Reah Keem, who plans to debut as a musician. Photo courtesy of LG Electronics

SEOUL, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- South Korean home appliance maker LG Electronics announced the company's "virtual influencer," Reah Keem, would make its debut as a musician.

Toward that end, the Seoul-based company signed a memorandum of understanding with local entertainment company Mystic Story, which was founded by singer-songwriter Yoon Jong-shin.

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Reah Keem delivered a keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2021 and has some 15,000 followers on Instagram.

"Instead of just singing a song, I hope to become an artist who delivers cultural content and messages so that I will be able to communicate with all the people," Reah Keem said Wednesday in a statement.

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South Korean insurer Shinhan Life also used a virtual influencer named Rozy, which was created by Sidus Studio X, to promote its launch last year.

Its ads featuring Rozy caught many by surprise because the country's financial companies typically depend on old-fashioned advertisements.

"The advertisement campaigns have been a great success. We have renewed a contract with Sidus Studio X so that we can feature Rozy in our advertisements this year," a Shinhan Life official told UPI News Korea.

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Virtual influencers are also popular in other countries, as demonstrated by Balmain's virtual model Shudu and Japan's imma, who promoted the launch of an Ikea store.

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The demand for such virtual models is expected to keep rising.

According to U.S. business tracker Insider Intelligence, the marketing costs of companies using influencers have almost doubled in the past three years, from $8 billion in 2019 to $15 billion this year.

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A substantial part of that cost is expected to go toward virtual influencers.

"After the COVID-19 pandemic, people are spending more time in the virtual world, including the metaverse. Along the same line, the value of virtual models is going up," Kangwon National University Professor of Industrial Engineering Kim Sang-kyun said in a telephone interview.

"In the end, I think the market size for virtual influencers will grow to be just as big as that for real influencers," he said.

This article has been updated to correct the name of the company that created Rozy.

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