Is She Real? Leveraging Real-Life and Computer-Generated Imagery Influencer Marketing in Brand Communications

Valeria Penttinen, Simone Lykke Tranholm Mouritzen, Susanne Pedersen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Although most social media influencer marketing campaigns are done in collaboration with real-life influencers, the use of virtual influencers is increasingly popular. Yet, little is known about how consumers respond to the social media communications of virtual influencers, and how brands can leverage this new type of influencers in their social media marketing campaigns. This pilot study examines consumers’ attitudes toward brands in response to influencer marketing campaigns involving real-life and virtual influencers across two types of promotional messages focusing on either hedonic or utilitarian product values. The outcomes of the pilot study show that while consumers generally have more favorable perceptions associated with communications of real-life influencers, messages focusing on hedonic (cf. utilitarian) product attributes improve consumer responses to posts shared by virtual influencers. Perceived creepiness and trustworthiness as well as the social presence of communications are defined as mediators explaining individual campaigns’ impacts on brand attitudes. Notably, posts shared by virtual influencers evoke higher creepiness, explaining likely reasons behind more negative responses to virtual (cf. real-life) influencer marketing. This pilot study provides a foundation for a large-scale study, which will also address the development of consumer-virtual influencer relationships over time.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2023 AMS Annual Conference
Publication date2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023
MoE publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings
Event2023 Academy of Marketing Science World Marketing Congress (AMS): Welcome to The New Normal: Life After The Chaos - Hilton New Orleans Riverside, New Orleans, United States
Duration: 17.05.202319.05.2023
Conference number: 47


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