Today at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity we announced with P&G’s SK-II, a global prestige skincare brand, the world’s first autonomously animated Digital Influencer: YUMI.
YUMI marks the birth of the first fully autonomous digital influencer capable of interacting as a human would but with the control brands need and expect.
YUMI is an integral part of SK-II’s ongoing transformation journey to connect with a new generation of consumers who are yearning for more meaningful experiences with the brands they know and trust. YUMI will not only provide beauty advice but also help consumers better understand their skin and selecting SK-II products that are suitable for them.
Much has been written about Digital Influencers but this is very different and a result of our more than eight-year investment in hard science and development that has resulted in a number of patents and innovations. One of our goals is to contribute to the progression of artificial general intelligence (AGI) using the human as a model system, enhancing human-machine collaboration.
The difference between YUMI and what are being touted as digital influencers is significant:
- Autonomy: YUMI can operate at scale, autonomously of human intervention. She will express emotions and information through what is effectively a Digital Brain™. Harnessing advanced artificial intelligence (AI) she can respond and interact just as a human would.
- Human: Through our Digital DNA™ Studio she has been developed to be life-like but with a unique personality. Unlike current approaches which depend on hand-tooling and significant animation, YUMI was built rapidly and can change dynamically to reflect the unique personality of the brand. We’ve learnt through our research that creating a human experience has to couple hyper-real imagery with hyper-real expressions, reactions and conversation. To look good isn’t enough – the experience has to be relatable and feel great as well. The research we’ve seen elsewhere reinforces this point: “The photorealistic avatar was rated more trustworthy, and people had more affinity with it and preferred it over the cartoon agent… a cartoon character caused extra cognitive load which hindered learning particularly for male participants, compared to the realistic character” (Yuan, Dennis, & Riemer, 2019)
- Responsive: Current digital puppets, “hot cartoons” and bots are designed to follow pre-scripted animation paths and fixed in the way they are designed. YUMI will magically adapt and respond based on the consumer in front of her.
- Integrated: The current generation of digital influencers deliver little utility to consumers. By integrating YUMI with information she can deliver what consumers are looking for – help, advise, tips and tricks – all based on what they need.
- AI-powered: Until now Digital Influencers have animated scripts. The point of YUMI is she is animated because of AI – constantly learning and improving on her own.
YUMI is a Digital Influencer with a difference. She engages and responds as a human would. She won’t know everything but will know what to do when she doesn’t. She represents a new way for brands to be more human in engaging humans in a highly scalable way.
YUMI is more than a digital influencer, she is a digital human capable of interacting and engaging in ways technology hasn’t been able to do until now,” said Sandeep Seth, Chief Executive Officer, Global SK-II. YUMI personifies our goal to combine technology and creativity to benefit customers. She provides the warmth and connection of human touch in the form of a digital experience to make the overall skincare experience at home and in store more enjoyable and compelling. SK-II is the perfect brand to introduce YUMI to and we’re looking forward to customers being able to turn to her for skincare and beauty questions at any time of the day or night.”
That is what Brands and Consumers are demanding.