By Benjamin Oi, Clio Goh and Leonard Koh
Grumpy Cat leaves a legacy
The subject of one of the web’s most beloved memes, Grumpy Cat, passed away on 17 May at 7 years of age. Grumpy Cat (@realgrumpycat, 2.7m followers), whose real name was Tardar Sauce, achieved viral popularity in 2012 due to her unique look - a permanently scowl resulting from feline dwarfism. One of the first truly viral animals on the web, some consider her to have pioneered the entire industry of celebrity pets.
Signed on with meme agent Ben Lashes (who manages other viral stars such as Keyboard Cat, Scumbag Steve and Nyan Cat) Grumpy’s extensive list of achievements include a line of merchandise, an endorsement with Friskies, a Madame Tussaud waxwork in San Francisco, an appearance on Broadway musical “Cats”, and even her own movie “Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever”.
Grumpy Cat certainly made a big impact all around the world - in the week following her passing, there’s been a tremendous outpouring of heartwarming tributes all over the web, from artists and influencers to brands. Having helped millions of people smile around the world—even when times were tough, the spirit of the beloved animal will continue to live on through fans all over the world, and will forever remain an internet legend.
Instagram Gets a Colorful Update for Pride Month!
To commemorate Pride Month 2019, the social media giant is adding a new rainbow ring for Stories, which includes a Pride-related hashtag.
It seems that this new feature can be activated by relevant hashtags, turning an ordinary one-tone Stories border to a rainbow one.
Last year, Instagram also added a new rainbow background for Stories Type mode, with rainbow mentions, hashtags, and location stickers.
Should they choose to implement the coloured rings for Stories even after Pride Month, it could open up a new wave of possibilities to make Stories stand out. It could, for instance, help users identify what different stories are about - a breaking news event, perhaps, could be highlighted in a different colour. This would help users find more relevant content in Stories.
She’s not real?
Virtual Model Imma (center)
To make matters real(?), Imma was composed with 2 real human models for Kate cosmetics in Vice’s i-D site in Japan and was given an advertorial interview, where she answers several questions (although crafted by people behind the scenes).
Virtual reality. Augmented reality. The line between fantasy and reality is becoming ever more blurry. Meet Imma, a digital Instagram model who despite her life like appearance, is the creation of ModelingCafe (a CGI firm that has worked on Kingsglaive Final Fantasy XV and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild).
Whether you agree or not, virtual influencers are making an impact on the influencer marketing landscape. KFC got in on the action recently with their own fictional fashionista and imbued him with the spirit of the chain’s founder, Colonel Sanders.
And yes, Colonel Sanders has a media kit.
It is easy to imagine where this would go with the advancement of AI but harder to foresee how it would be used as virtual models such as Imma and Colonel Sanders treads onto the territory of real models. Regardless, with virtual influencers grabbing headlines and gaining followers, it’s only getting harder to tell the difference between the real and fake.