If virtual influencers have become palatable alongside their fleshmeat counterparts, it’s partly because they make no secret about not being human. Sometimes, they might even expound on how they relate to their unique realities, a charming variant on the machine sentience convos we’re always having about AI.
There are surreal crossovers, where these characters flirt with the membrane dividing pixels and personhood. In 2020, the virtual influencer Imma appeared inside an enclosed Ikea apartment in Harajuku, where she was spotted enjoying banal activities like vacuuming and folding socks. It seems that one pleasure of sharing our world is sharing our chores.
This BMW ad follows that lead, and it’s philosophical in a softcore sci-fi way. Here, we have a “bubble boy” story, where Lil Miquela partakes of the tortuous pleasure of exploring our reality without being able to touch it. Her fingers slice through a dragonfly, recomposing the illusion of solidity on the other side. (She sure can clutch a steering wheel, though!)
“Amidst all the web3/metaverse/artificial intelligence push of the past two years, this crafty piece of storytelling is all about real life,” says Patrick Klebba, executive creative director at Media.Monks, which conceived the film. “Now, Lil Miquela reminds us of what we have, and how beautiful it is, and how lucky we are to have it—this is what we want people to feel.”
Directed by Stefanie Soho, the film does a nifty job of positioning the car as a spiritual mediator, or psychopomp, connecting two realities. And it makes another promise: This isn’t just a vehicle that straddles the space between. It can, when it matters, cut between them, offering genuine access to the previously untouchable.
You can find the full film here.