alvin Klein Thailand just sparked a partnership with Katii, a new virtual influencer. This collaboration is a testament to the brand’s desire to explore new media opportunities, as they and other brands invest heavily in collaborations that tear at the fabric between the real and virtual worlds.
Born January 6 in Khon Kaen province Thailand, Katii has a joyful spirit and love-all approach to life that aligns perfectly with Calvin Klein’s extroverted, playful image. She was created by Plan B Media Public Company with thick eyebrows, great skin, and a sharp gaze that will keep her forever 22.
The epitome of eternal youthfulness, Katii is the latest in a series of Calvin Klein collaborations with popular virtual influencers. She may not be the first, however, to make headlines—or cause controversy. In the brand's first and biggest collaboration with a virtual influencer, virtual mega influencer Lil Miquela starred alongside supermodel Bella Hadid in a steamy video campaign that caused some serious heat in the public eye.
The concept behind the SPEAK MY TRUTH IN #MYCALVINS has been to embrace sexuality in all its forms. But the brand was eventually forced to issue an apology after being accused of queerbaiting online. Queerbaiting is a marketing tactic when brands hint at LGBTQ+ representation but don’t actually follow through with it. Because Bella Hadid identifies as a straight woman, many fans found the video of her kissing Miquela to be disingenuous, especially considering that Miquela is a fictional character whose story is controlled by a company.
As with its other virtual influencer campaigns, Calvin Klein’s collaboration with Katii is not a random move. Thai virtual influencers have been rapidly gaining popularity in the growing swirl of the metaverse zeitgeist. Katii joins an illustrious group of other virtual models, such as SIA’s CGI created human AI Ailynn, the first virtual influencer agency in Bangkok.
Thailand has become a rapidly developing advertising market and a creative hub. According to the Bangkok Post, “Digital advertising billings last year rose 8% to 21 billion baht and are forecast to grow another 11% this year to 23.3 billion.” For Calvin Klein, Katii is the ideal ambassador: She is fresh, scandal-free and loves to experiment with fashion.
After all, she is just 22 — albeit forever.