Genies co-founder and CEO, Akash Nigam, often tells people a story about the importance of avatar apps to celebrities. The Atlanta-based rapper Offset was supposed to attend a content creation session for a brand sponsorship opportunity but had gone AWOL. Rather than give up on the opportunity, Offset’s mom contacted us, and asked us to quickly whip up a digital representation of her son using our Genies art style. She intended to use the avatar in an Instagram post promoting the brand to fulfill Offset’s obligation. This is a potent example of the importance and versatility of personalized avatars in modern advertising.

The Role of Avatars

Our customizable animated avatars have enabled us to establish brand partnerships with many companies and organizations: Bird, Gucci, Frito-Lay, even the CDC. A user with the Genies app can build their own Genie avatar and then accessorize it with clothes and accessories from Gucci’s branded ‘wheel’ of items. In this way, avatars can serve as means for clothing brands to publicize themselves, their new lines, and create a culture of appreciation for their attire. This may be a contributing factor to the continuing drop in the age of Gucci’s typical customer.

Avatars are versatile in the contexts they can be applied to. Virtual worlds that can benefit from their inclusion include social networks, online role playing games, and even virtual reality. Evan Rosenbaum, Genies co-founder, is a key member of our team building the Genies SDK so that other app developers can pay a fee to effortlessly integrate Genies assets into their own apps. As Akash’s anecdote illustrates, celebrity avatars also have additional possibilities besides the ones listed above. They can make social media posts to promote brands, campaigns, and other concerns. Celebrities’ Genies have very high appeal and in some cases actually outperform comparable non-avatar posts from the same users.

Digital Events and Avatars

In times when large-scale real world events such as concerts or conventions are difficult to coordinate safely, digital alternatives are proving to be very popular. From Facebook and Instagram’s Graduation 2020 event featuring Oprah and Miley Cyrus, to Disney+ and its Independence Day release of Broadway sensation Hamilton, the public has a thirst for inclusion in things that reinforce community values and togetherness, especially at times which stress the importance of remaining apart. Digital alter egos can be of particular use in these circumstances as well. Genies’ Avatar Agency provides a means by which DJ Khaled and A$AP Rocky can appear on the same press conference panel without worrying about social distancing, or where Carmelo Anthony and Jared Goff can promote the next NFL game together with no fear of spreading the coronavirus.

Genies is working hard to produce the next step in digital avatars. If you’re interested in seeing what comes next, sign up for our updates.