Genies, a company that bills itself as the creator of “the world’s first digital human race,” recently launched an avatar agency to manage the digital alter egos of celebrities, Fast Company reports.
The rise of the avatar economy
In theory, celebrities who earn big bucks from sponsorships could earn 2x as much by being in 2 places at once — and Genies claims to give them that opportunity by offering fully managed second selves.
“Whether your top priority is on the court, in the studio, or on tour, your Genie can represent your identity when you can’t,” Genies explains on its site.
Right now, Genies manages celebrities such as DJ Khaled, Russell Westbrook, and Steve Aoki… err, scratch that, Genies manages their digital clones.
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This ‘avatar agency’ started out as a news app
Genies originally used personalized avatars to reenact the day’s news — because who wouldn’t want their big-headed emoji-self in a rocket with Elon Musk?!
But the company quickly realized it could make bigger bucks by helping celebrities and large companies build their brands.
Think about it this way: If kids see their emoji selves look great with Gucci bags, they’re more likely to think their real selves need them, too (yes, Gucci is a real client of Genie’s).
Genies’ brand page sums it up this way: “Build brand familiarity with the next generation of consumers. Introduce your product to this newly coveted audience, irrespective if they can afford or access it in the real world.”
But who will own the avatars?
“As the lines become blurred between our physical and digital worlds, every human will need an avatar to represent themselves,” Genies says on its website.
Right now, there’s no law governing avatar rights, which Genies insists is a problem because it allows the use of a person’s likeness without their permission.
But not everyone agrees about how avatars should work. Genies thinks celebrities should have just 1 avatar to ensure it matches their human “brand.” Others believe people should make different avatars to represent all their different selves.