Brand appoints animated digital influencer as its new face

Japanese cosmetics brand, SK-II, has announced it is partnering with Soul Machines, a New Zealand startup that builds digital humans, to create the world’s first autonomously animated digital influencer.

Known as Yumi, the robot is part of the brand’s journey in connecting with a new generation of consumers, educating them on how to take better care of their skin while also providing other beauty tips. Google Dialogflow will be its natural language platform, and it will be able to interact just like a human.

“We are thrilled to work with innovative companies and brands like Procter & Gamble and SK-II, who are embracing technology to humanise brands at scale,” Soul Machines co-founder and chief business officer, Greg Cross, said. “Yumi will become a trusted resource to those who interact with her. Customers will immediately notice how easy the Soul Machines digital humans are to converse with and relate to once they spend time interacting with Yumi.”

“Yumi is more than a digital influencer,” Global SK-II CEO, Sandeep Seth, added. “She is a digital human capable of interacting and engaging in ways technology hasn’t been able to do until now. 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.”

Soul Machines can use detailed face scans to build its creations, or it can generate human faces without a reference, conjuring new faces out of seemingly thin air. And although Yumi is based on a real person, no details have been provided about the woman she is based on.