esterday, the virtual influencer community welcomed two new members to the virtual roster: Squeaky and Roy. Squeaky and Roy are entirely computer generated, animated characters who take the form of a small pink bear and a smaller purple penguin, respectively.
Despite their deceptively cute appearances and new status, Squeaky and Roy are a force, having already grown a massive following topping 90k followers with just a handful of posts. Such rapid growth ought to be presumed though, considering Squeaky and Roy were made by TikTok royalty––Charli and Dixie D’Amelio.
Charli and Dixie gained popularity over the past couple of years thanks to engaging audiences on the short-form video app, TikTok. Now, the sisters rule the platform; Charli D’Amelio has 118.2 million followers, with Dixie following behind with 52.6 million followers. Their family is also making waves, thanks to a variety of partnerships with brands like Hulu, Morphe, Triller and more. However, mirroring the mass-expansion strategies adopted by the Kardashian empire, the D’Amelio family won’t stop here.
Virtual influencers Squeaky and Roy spend their days unknowingly, yet innocently wreaking havoc on the D’Amelio family in what will be an ongoing series spanning Instagram, TikTok and Triller. Considering the majority of the D’Amelio audience tends to be younger, Squeaky and Roy are a great way to engage with D’Amelio fans in a more authentic, relatable way, and right on their viewers’ level.
While innovative, Squeaky and Roy actually follow a long line of virtual characters dancing their bits off on TikTok. Innovators in the virtual TikTok space include the likes of Nobody Sausage, APOKI, Noodle and Bun, and the ever-similar “celebrity family’s toy come to life”: Real Qai Qai. Virtual characters date back even further than TikTok and have a history of being popular figures for younger audiences, providing guidance and advice about real-life topics. Hasbro’s Barbie is a perfect example.
As digital media evolved, so did the ways audiences engage with popular figures. Instead of abandoning younger demographics, Barbie innovated in the digital age, introducing a vlog channel on YouTube and other social media platforms to meet her audience where they are now.
Squeaky and Roy are the next generation of virtual influencers. While Squeaky and Roy may just be two dancing cartoon characters at face value, their innovative social media presence as virtual influencers makes them critically relatable to an increasingly digital, animation-interested audience. Further, more people have social media than ever before, and the Squeaky and Roy personalities are even more appealing because they create content for a variety of social media platforms. The transmedia nature of their experience ensures that whether their fans favor TikTok over Instagram or vice versa, Squeaky and Roy will still reach them.
What does this mean for the future of virtual influencers?
Virtual influencers are replacing the traditional brand spokesperson, and giving new characters eternal life in the process. As target demographics grow older, these virtual characters will not, creating a consistent persona that people can relate with at different times in their lives.
Squeaky and Roy might be the latest virtual influencers to celebrate their day of birth, but they surely will not be the last.