• Influencer marketing has surged during the pandemic as more consumers have moved online and brands have been forced to adapt to new challenges.
  • The rise of ecommerce and social media continues to usher in a wave of less formal and potentially cheaper marketing from online icons directly connected to audiences that brands can target.
  • Marketers expect the trend to continue, which could lead to more unexpected brand partnerships, like a KFC line of Crocs or Forever 21's Cheetos apparel.

Mix together a cup of cold brew, three pumps of caramel syrup, a splash of whole milk and a generous portion of TikTok and you've got yourself "The Charli" – Dunkin' Donuts' new menu item promoted in partnership with Charli D'Amelio, a superstar social media influencer and the drink's namesake.

Influencer marketing campaigns are not new, but the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated their appeal as companies have been forced to ramp up their online presence. Marketers expect that to continue, due to a combination of changing consumer behavior, a growing sophistication of data and analytics, and tighter ad budgets.

As these forces take shape, subscription streaming services expand and cable's decline continues, could it spell the end of TV commercials?

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  • L.A.-based Genies is expanding beyond creating and managing avatars for celebrities; consumers can now create their own avatars on partner platforms that use Genies' software development kit.
  • Initial partners are Gucci and Giphy, with more expected in the coming months.
  • Genies' pivot is an effort to capitalize on the 'digital goods economy' and the ascendance of the metaverse.

Justin Bieber made Crocs cool again earlier this month, when he partnered with the footwear company, known more for function than fashion, to release a limited edition pair that reportedly sold out in 90 minutes.

Imagine now that those shoes were meant to be worn not on human feet, but on the pixels of a consumer's digital avatar.

This is the vision of L.A.-based Genies, which announced Tuesday it is now integrating its avatar-creation technology into other companies' digital platforms via an updated software development kit (SDK).

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Grammy-winning record producer Jaycen Joshua was in the middle of working on Ricky Martin's newest release, "Pausa," when the Puerto Rican superstar decided to change course.

"He sent me this song that was done in this technique and said 'Jaycen, I want to do this but I want it to be bigger'," Joshua told dot.LA.

The track Martin sent employed a spatial audio technique that renders sounds into more dimensions than the typical stereo format.

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