The World Health Organisation has recruited the digital influencer to spread awareness of coronavirus among young people
As the line between the real and virtual becomes ever-increasingly blurred, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has enlisted the help of a CGI influencer to help them inform young people of the importance of safe coronavirus practices.
Knox Frost, a digital rendering of a 20-year-old guy from Atlanta, has over one million followers. Announcing the partnership with the World Health Organisation on April 4, he wrote on Instagram: “I’ve partnered with @WHO to combat corona. Let’s show them younger generations are in this fight.”
The post includes a link to a donation page that’s working to track the spread of the virus, provide workers with medical equipment, and help patients get the care they need.
A previous post on March 22 also gives advice to followers about self-isolating, saying: “Look – things are about to get really tough for a lot of people over the next few months, and we have to stay strong. I used to say get outdoors, avoid binging video games, hang with friends... but now? We’re on an entirely different playing field. The rules of the game have changed, and your strategy needs to as well.”
He added: “New plan for the next few months: work with what you have at home. I’m talking FaceTiming your friends daily, keeping track of your thoughts on paper, drinking more water than usual, checking the news only once a day, doing something creative, or picking up a new hobby. For me, I’m picking up a hobby from years ago.”
Speaking to Buzzfeed News, social media marketing company Influential, the creators behind Knox, said: “Through this partnership with WHO, (Knox is) ensuring the message to stay home, stay healthy, and to donate to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund reaches even the youngest generations. While Knox Frost may be a virtual human, he’s making a real world impact during this time of need.”
Also partnering with the World Health Organisation is Gucci, which donated €2 million to help fight the pandemic. Gucci’s parent company Kering is also set to create millions of medical face masks in France to aid the cause.
Frost is one of the hundreds of CGI influencers, including Lil Miquela and Blawko, whose digital existences are having IRL impact – albeit some more dystopian than others. Earlier this year, Lil Miquela publicly announced her split from her human boyfriend Nick. Back in May 2019, Calvin Klein released a 30-second YouTube video that featured Bella Hadid and Miquela kissing. As Dazed wrote at the time, the clip “borrows sexuality for clickbait, othering queerness as ‘surreal’ (and combining it with the added virtual human gimmick) as engagement-driving content.”
Here’s hoping we’ll see Lil Miquela (and her creators) use her virtual fame for good by joining Frost in the fight against coronavirus.