Introducing Mira...M&S go virtual

Charlotte Hurd


Marks & Spencer’s is the latest in a line of (traditionally luxury) brands to introduce a digitally rendered influencer…

Mira, who is an acronym for ‘Marks & Spencer, influencer, reality, augmented’ is part of the M&S Insider programme which now includes 13 M&S only influencers.

M&S have even created a backstory for Mira by appointing her as digital designer at M&S Support Centre office in West London, where she designs updates for M&S website and app, "helping to drive innovation on these platforms, with her expert knowledge of AR and VR [augmented and virtual reality]".

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However, it has been very interesting to note that Mira’s introduction has been very unpopular…

I think you have got this wrong. I love seeing different women wearing your clothes, different shapes and sizes, different aged ladies and from a diverse background. I don’t want to see a robot. My guess is I am not alone…..’

‘Two points: 1. Your consumer demographic don’t want this and think it’s creepy. 2. Haven’t we already learned about the damage seeing photoshopped images can have on young people’s self worth and this is even more extreme.
Please listen to your customers, withdraw this and replace it with real and diverse models.’

‘This just doesn’t make sense on so many levels. I dislike the whole influencer mentality, and this is even worse. Your customers want to see real life people of all different shapes and sizes. Instead of gifting clothes to influencers and food to celebrities, why not use your own staff to showcase the clothes? This might also help with staff moral’

'This is so upsetting. I wondered if it was just me. How can it be a positive mental health message for an over-perfect-bot to be created to be followed as something to listen to/empathise with/ want to be inspired by. I love the M&S insiders - the real ones - they show the good and the not-so-good aspects of their lives. We get to see what the clothes look like on real sizes. Please please no to a Barbie Bot.'

And these comments are not in the minority – there are hundreds of M&S followers who are unhappy about the introduction of this brand bot.

Seemingly, M&S have totally missed the mark and although other brands have seen great success with virtual influencers (just look to the numerous brand collaborations with ‘Miquela’, including a very risqué Calvin Klein stint with Bella Hadid) this customer is just not on board.

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Looking at the numerous comments, it is clear that the Marks & Spencer customer, as well as the wider consumer generally have reached breaking point with inaccurate representation. They want to see real people, real genuine diversity and inclusivity and not a very outdated traditional perspective.

The inclusion of Mira in M&S’s recent posts has slowed dramatically, and it will be interesting to see how she is used in future. This poses a very poignant question around accessibility and demand for a more virtual ‘meta’ approach when it comes to the broader mass market and although it is great to see M&S experimenting with new ideas, it seems to have gone amiss with their core consumer group.

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