Does The Creator Economy + Social Media Drive Sales?

3 Clear Examples of Brands that are Thriving 

Do you want to invest further in social media and creators but are concerned that you may not get the return that you’re hoping for?

What’s the key to winning?

It’s all about crafting stories that entertain, inspire, and educate, while wrapping your brand around it like a warm hug. 

Does this strategy boost sales? You bet it does, but only when executed the right way.

Let's take a look at three brands that are absolutely killing it, primarily thanks to their creator-driven campaigns on social media:

Liquid Death

Proudly calling itself "just a funny beverage company who hates corporate marketing as much as you do" – This cheeky drink brand knows how to make a splash – with marketing so quirky it could go viral as a meme.

Born in 2017 and packaged in planet-friendly aluminum, Liquid Death is laughing all the way to the bank, posting a $700 MM Valuation in just 5 years (Source:  Bloomberg 2022).

From celebs like Wiz Khalifa to popular characters like The Deep, Liquid Death's collabs are as diverse as they are dazzling. Tailored to each star's vibe, these creator campaigns are hitting all the right notes one after the other. 

Skateboard legend Tony Hawk keeps it real, while Cherie DeVille adds a dash of daring to the brand. It's not even just about star power - it’s the content that’s resonating with fans and stealing the show. And let's not forget, this brand's got a cheeky way of making you think twice about that plastic bottle.

Mike Cessario, The Founder of Liquid Death stated in an interview with Marketplace, "We’re trying to make health and sustainability 50 times more fun. Typically, all the most fun, hilarious marketing over the last 30 years is all for junk food — alcohol, energy drinks, candy. Like, what is the funniest campaign most people remember? It’s Bud Light, Snickers, Carl’s Jr., whereas healthy food doesn’t really ever market in that fun, irreverent, youth culture way."


Say hello to Olipop, the fizzy drink that's giving Coke and Pepsi a run for their money! With a whopping $200 million in sales, this isn't your grandma's soda (Source: Axios 2023) 

The brand has recently experienced its best business months ever, and the numbers are only going up! “The amount of people that now refer to us as ‘the TikTok soda’ is insane,” Steven Vigilante, Olipop’s head of new business development, stated in a conversation with Ad Age. 

Vigilante also went on to say, “We’ve turned off all of our ad spend across every other social platform, so we’re just running ads on TikTok, forming creator partnerships, and making content for our organic page. TikTok is literally our entire strategy right now. And the last few months have been our best ever as a business after shutting off all of those other platforms.”

The best part? Olipop doesn't just partner with creators; it empowers them. From foodie in-house creator Sara Crane to the popular comic Juand Chan, Olipop grants its creator partners artistic freedom.


This authentic approach has led to posts tagged with #OLIPOPPartner outperforming all others, generating a staggering $25.4M EMV (Earned Media Value). (Source: AdWeek 2023) 

Steve sums it up best: "Consumers don’t want health-related information too broadcasted... stressing too much the health component interrupts the indulgent part." 


Talk about a brand that's popping! Poppi saw a jaw-dropping 148% revenue growth in the last year and a 250% surge in online sales. That's not growth; that's a boom! With a fresh infusion of $25 million led by CAVU, their total capital now exceeds $40 million. (Source: TechCrunch 2022)

Plenty of credit goes to Poppi’s famous "Soda's Back" creator campaign that turned heads all across social media – and trust us, it's not just fizz—it's a full-on fiesta! From local creators like chillandgrillwithhill to none other than J Lo herself, Poppi's fizz is getting the A-list treatment on TikTok!

And Poppi knows how to keep the conversation going, both online and offline. Their consumer-driven creator campaigns are a hit, especially among Gen Z and millennials. 

The brand hit another viral gold when founder Ellsworth shared Poppi's origin story on TikTok. The post exploded, racking up thousands of likes and comments. That’s where the story begins. In the founder’s own words – “Our community is obsessed, rather than us writing copy about soda’s back, our communities were already saying it. So we decided to take that a step further and put them on a billboard.”

Still wondering whether the creator economy and social media can drive sales? Let these three brands be your answer. From Liquid Death's meme-worthy marketing to Olipop's TikTok takeover and Poppi's consumer-driven campaigns, it's clear: when creators and social media join forces, your brand doesn't just make noise—it makes bank! 

So, are you ready to scale your brand the smart way?

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Virtual Influencers + The Creator Economy

How AI-Generated Characters in social media will play a role in marketing

In the bustling and noisy arena of social media, creators (“influencers”) have become the go-to stars for brands looking to shine. But let's face it, traditional influencer marketing is filled with hurdles and headaches. 

Prices have increased significantly, 44% from 2020 to 2021 and 45% from 2021 to June 2022 on average (Source: The Motherhood Agency). Organic reach has also fallen off a cliff in the past several years across all platforms. 

Tapping content from creators, however, is a necessity to be relevant in social media, and thus, relevant in marketing. 

So, don’t fret, there’s a new player in town that's turning heads and breaking traditional barriers. Meet the virtual influencers, the pixel-perfect personalities that are reimagining how we connect and create online. Intrigued? Let’s learn more about them and how they can help your brand grow. 

What Are Virtual Influencers Anyway?

Ever stumbled upon an Instagram influencer who seemed a bit too perfect? Maybe their smile was just right, their travels to exotic, and their style out of this world? Well, you might've just crossed paths with a virtual influencer.

Virtual influencers are computer-generated characters designed with human-like features and personalities. You might also call them digital avatars, CGI models, or even digital celebs. Some, like Barbie, have become mainstream, while many virtual influencers are still finding their footing on the online stage. A few have already amassed millions of Instagram followers. 

These characters may not exist in our physical world, but they lead lives that feel surprisingly real. And the credit goes to talented teams of designers, artists, and writers who craft these artificial beings and the stories they associate with on our feed.

How Virtual Influencers Work

Virtual influencers bring a fascinating blend of technology, creativity, and marketing strategy together. But how exactly do they come to life, and what makes them tick? Let's break it down:

  • Creation and Design: Virtual influencers are crafted using advanced computer graphics software like Cinema 4D, Unreal Engine, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and Lightroom. They are meticulously designed by professionals to have human-like features and expressions so that they can resonate with the audience. 
  • Personality and Storytelling: Unlike traditional CGI characters, creators provide virtual influencers with their unique backstories, interests, and even values. These digital characters are often seen engaging with their followers, sharing personal experiences, and taking stands on social issues. This unique storytelling aspect helps them connect with audiences on a whole new level, making them a focal point for brand collaborations.
  • Collaborations and Partnerships: Virtual influencers collaborating with real-world brands and celebrities is already a reality. For instance, virtual influencer Lil Miquela is often seen partnering with brands like Samsung and Calvin Klein. 
  • Omnichannel Presence: Virtual influencers are not confined to a single platform. Today, these digital presences are everywhere, from Instagram to YouTube to TikTok,, engaging with followers and participating in various activities. Their virtual nature allows them to be present anywhere, anytime, breaking all geographical norms.
  • Future Prospects: The Global Influencer Market was valued at $16.4 Billion in 2022 (Source: Influencer Marketing Hub, 2023) and is on an upward trajectory. Projected to grow exponentially, the market is expected to touch $143 Billion by 2030 (Source: Statista, 2023). In my opinion, Virtual Influencers will undoubtedly play a significant role in this growth, showcasing the growing potential of this innovative marketing approach.

Virtual influencers are more than just digital avatars; they are now becoming the new frontier in influencer marketing, offering brands control, creativity, and endless possibilities. Whether it's a virtual fashion icon strutting down a digital runway or a pixel-powered activist raising awareness, these digital personas are redefining the way we think about influence online. 

The Benefits of Collaborating with Virtual Influencers

Virtual influencers are quickly becoming an integral part of brand marketing strategies. Let's take a look at some of the primary benefits virtual influencers offer and some standout collaborations in the USA.

Benefits for Brands
  • Control and Consistency: Virtual influencers offer brands complete control over their appearance, messaging, and actions. This level of control over campaigns ensures consistency in brand representation and eliminates potential PR risks associated with human influencers.
  • Global Reach: Imagine having an influencer who can speak to audiences in New York, Tokyo, and Paris all at the same time. With virtual influencers, that’s not a far-fetched imagination anymore. These influencers transcend geographical boundaries, allowing brands to reach diverse audiences without the limitations of language, culture, or location.
  • 24/7 Availability: Unlike human influencers, virtual ones are available around the clock, enabling continuous engagement with audiences and timely responses to trends and events.
Examples of Successful Collaborations in the USA
  • Pacsun and Lil Miquela: In 2022, Pacsun partnered with CGI influencer Lil Miquela for its back-to-school and holiday campaigns. The collaboration involved Lil Miquela sporting clothes from the brand and was a part of Pacsun's larger metaverse ambitions. The partnership was seen as a nod towards the brand's engagement with Web3 technology. 
  • Lu Do Magalu and VOGUE Brazil: Virtual influencer Lu Do Magalu graced the cover of VOGUE Brazil and won an award at Cannes with Ogilvy in the year 2022. With a following of 6.4 million on Instagram, she became a symbol of digital activism and modeling. The year marked a significant milestone for her, with potential earnings reaching an astounding 15,442,994 euros.
  • Amazon Prime and Kyra & Luks: In late 2022, a groundbreaking collaboration united India's Kyra and Brazil's Luks with Amazon Prime Video to promote "The Peripheral." This innovative campaign, reflecting the show's futuristic theme, leveraged virtual influencers to create a buzz that resonated with their audiences, marking a whole new era in entertainment marketing.

Some Leading Virtual Influencers

Lil Miquela

A fusion of Brazilian and Spanish allure, Lil Miquela is the virtual sensation that started it all. With a whopping 2.7 million followers on Instagram, the 19-year-old digital diva Lil Miquela is more than just pixels; she's a fashion icon and a pop star. From flaunting her latest fashion ensembles to dropping hit singles like "Money" and "Sleeping In" on Spotify, she's the virtual influencer who's got it all.

Her collaborations read like a who's who of the modern world. Teaming up with Samsung for their 2019 #teamgalaxy campaign? Check. Sharing the screen with supermodel Bella Hadid for Calvin Klein? Absolutely. Making it to The Times' list of 'Most Influential People on the Internet' in 2018? You bet.

Qai Qai

Say hello to the most popular doll in the world: Qai Qai (pronounced Kway-Kway), with 324K people following her online. But she's not just another toy; she's the beloved doll of Alexis Olympia Ohanian, daughter of tennis superstar Serena Williams and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

When Serena Williams chose Qai Qai for Olympia, it was more than a gift; it was a statement. Growing up, Serena didn't have many opportunities to own a black doll, and she wanted her daughter's first doll to reflect her heritage. The name "Qai Qai" itself has a personal touch, coming from Williams's nephew.

Ion Göttlich

Ion Göttlich, a virtual influencer in the cycling world, made his first appearance on February 28, 2015. Created by Claudio Pavan, the athletic virtual persona represents the sport worldwide. Ion Göttlich's unique presence in the cycling online social media world has garnered him 78.1k followers on Instagram. He has also been featured in various articles and contributed to discussions pivoting around virtual influencers and their impact on social media. He’s also seen supporting the #BlackLivesMatter movement on his instagram.

Chef Jade

Hailing from Hatsukaichi, Japan, and raised in Springfield, Illinois, Chef Jade is the culinary sensation who's taken the entire city of Rome by storm. With a passion for vegan cuisine, she explores the world, serving up delectable recipes and travel tips on her website and social media. But that's not all; she's also the host of a podcast, where she shares her culinary adventures with her fur-baby, Zelda. Chef Jade is more than a virtual chef; she calls herself a taste explorer, connecting food lovers across the globe.

Wrapping Up

Ever felt like your brand needed a sprinkle of something extraordinary? Virtual influencers might just be the zest you're looking for! From Shudu's timeless elegance to Lil Miquela's trendsetting style, these pixel-perfect personalities offer brands a fresh, controlled, and innovative way to connect with audiences. Whether you're looking to break into new markets or add a creative twist to your next campaign, virtual influencers can help. Want more information? Feel free to drop us a note at Socialtyze. We’re always happy to help. 

How do I choose the right virtual influencer for my brand? 

Ans: Identify your brand's values and target audience, then look for a virtual influencer that aligns with your image. Consider their style, follower demographics, and previous collaborations.

Are virtual influencers more cost-effective than human influencers? 

Ans: Costs vary based on the campaign's complexity and the influencer's popularity. Virtual influencers may save on travel expenses but require investment in high-quality digital content creation.

How do I measure the success of a virtual influencer?

Ans: The core measurement metric is subjective. Does the talent match with your brand image?  Do you see content being created that could elevate your brand vision.  Or, do you like the creator’s content so much that you could see it helping to pave new roads? 

How do I measure the success of a virtual influencer campaign?

Ans: Success is dependent upon your precise goal but we measure success for brand lift by – i) quality of content; ii) brand integration into the content (how was the brand value positioned); iii) total views; iv) length of view; and v) engagement levels.   

For lower funnel metrics, look at cost per land page visit and sales—if you are looking to drive sales, be sure to amplify via paid media.  

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What Marketers Are Doing Wrong + Six Steps To Your Success

A significant amount of change is happening in the marketing and advertising industry today. Consumer behavior has shifted, and brands need to pivot their advertising strategies.

Despite massive changes, a few brands are doing exceptionally. Two examples are Liquid Death and Gymshark, which have experienced remarkable growth relatively quickly.

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Liquid Death Creates The Worst Name Ever To Cut Through The Clutter

In this article, I will discuss how you can mimic some of the success tactics of Liquid Death and Gymshark and how to pivot to meet current consumer behavior trends.

You may be wondering why you should trust my insights. I don't have a crystal ball, but I do have a solid track record of predicting the future of advertising and marketing.

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How To Capture Consumer Attention Now

I was one of the first to realize the power of the Internet as an ad vehicle and ran some of the first ads ever on the Internet back in 1994, which promoted a Sean Connery movie.

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One Of the First Internet Promotions Ever, Sept. 1994

I was also one of the first to identify Facebook as one of the most effective ad mediums ever, and ran some of the first ads on the platform in January of 2009, which promoted Showtime.

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Showtime Ads in 2009

So, what is the major shift happening right now and as a marketer, how do you pivot? Consumers are not paying attention to highly-polished, highly-produced ads.

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Highly-Polished Ads Are Not Working Anymore

They are gravitating towards more relatable "Lo-Fi" ads that resemble relatable. Lo-Fi ads consistently outperform their Hi-Fi counterparts in terms of engagement, reach, and video views.

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Lo-Fi Ads Are Outperforming High-Fi Ads--Source: Dash Hudson 2022

As a result, the Content Creator Economy is booming, and Influencer Marketing has reached new heights, amounting to $16.4 billion in 2022.

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"People Marketing" Is Driving Results

This increase in demand, however, has also led to higher prices, decreased reach, and shrinking video view lengths, which has had an adverse effect on Influencer Marketing.

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Source: Fanpage Karma 2022

In fact, Influencer Marketing, in its current form, is a mess, as brands are getting into the game late and paying more money for much less value.  CPM's of $300+ for organic reach is common.

To navigate these challenges and others, here is your Six-Point Plan For Advertising Success:


Lean into the Content Creator Economy by connecting with skilled content creators who excel in generating high video views and engagement. Choose them for their content creation skills rather than just their follower count.  Views and Impressions from their organic reach should be seen as added value.  The true value is found in their content.

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Lean Into The Creator Economy


Work with skilled Creative Strategists who can provide tight creative briefs for content creators and ensure that the content engages and drives sales. The content creators are not skilled in the art and science of advertising, and while they can drive high video views and substantial CTR's, they are not experts in driving purchase intent and sales. Collaboration with the right Creative Strategists is paramount for success.

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Content Creators Needs Creative Strategists To Succeed


Collaborate with skilled AI executives to leverage artificial intelligence for marketing. This allows for creativity at scale and efficiency, utilizing tactics like customizing prompts using ChatGPT's API. Jump into next-level AI strategy and tactics--for more on this topic, see my YouTube Video, "Better Ads With ChatGPT".

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Dive Into AI 100%


Go Big With Niches by customizing ads for specific groups within your target audience. Use AI and content creators to create ads that resonate with different segments. For example, if you are marketing a protein bar, create several ads with Content Creators for Yogis, Pilates Specialists, Gym Rats, Corporate Executives, etc. Connecting with prospective customers in the newsfeed is more important than ever to drive awareness, purchase intent, and sales. Prospective customers will listen to what you have to sell, only if you are on their wavelength. Ads that highlight common interests or provide solutions to their problems will grab attention.

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Connecting with Consumers By Going Big With Niche Marketing


Rely on paid media instead of organic reach to convert new customers. Influencer audiences are valuable but comparatively they are very expensive to reach organically, so paid media becomes crucial for driving new customers and warming up existing prospects.

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Rely On Paid Media To Drive Core Results


Go against Facebook's best practices--Set up multiple ad sets that target different audiences with customized creative. This approach allows you to maintain control while tapping into the algorithm and optimizing your campaign based on performance.  Delete the losing creative and ad sets, and double down on the winners.

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Algo + Manual Optimization For Best Results

Execute the above strategies over the next 12-24 months, and you'll be highly successful.  If you need support, set up an exploratory call with us, here.

With 15 years of experience, a network of influential creators, and a team of skilled social media professionals, we'd be happy to help you drive awareness, purchase intent, and sales for your brands.

For more content like this, follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my YouTube Channel.  Good Luck and Stay In Touch!

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7 Tips To Use ChatGPT To Create Better Ads

ChatGPT is about to change the way in which we create ads. It is so powerful that copywriters and creative strategists are concerned that they'll be replaced.

The good news is humans are still needed as long as they learn how to use AI really, really well. Think of it like a computer--it just makes you smarter and much more efficient.

Here's a quick glance at 7 ways in which you can use ChatGPT to create better ads.

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What Simone Biles Taught Us

Yes, Simone Biles did do the unthinkable by stepping down from her team at the Olympics.  But what else did she do that provides us with incredibly valuable insight into who the best Celebs and Influencers are to represent our brands?

In this 2-minute video, you’ll find out and if you are one of the first 50 requests, you’ll receive a list of top celebrities and influencers who are the best fit for your brand based on the Simone Biles Factor and a deep data match from our Qu Technology Platform.

If you would like a customized list of the top celeb's and influencers that are the best fit for your brand based on the Simone Biles Factor, let us know at If you are part of the first 50 brands to reach out, we will get back to you right away.

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