A virtual influencer is helping to drive donations in WHO's new COVID-19 campaign
The World Health Organization (WHO) has done much to rally the support of millennials and Gen Zers during the coronavirus pandemic, such as partnering with social media platforms for its #safehands hand-washing challenge and airing a Stream Aid event on Twitch with celebrities like Ellie Goulding and Charlie Puth.
Now, it’s hoping even more influencers will persuade younger generations to open their wallets to support people in dire need. Ironically, one of them isn’t even human.
The WHO has partnered with influencer marketing firm Influential to launch a pro-bono influencer campaign to drive donations to the WHO’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. So far, there are 20 celebrities and influencers involved, all encouraging donations with the hashtag #Covid19Fund, a hashtag already in use by WHO and the UN Foundation.
“Whenever there are crisis calls, we want to be there,” says Influential CEO Ryan Detert. The marketing firm has worked with a number of government organizations in the past on pro bono campaigns, including the U.N.
Knox Frost, a digital rendering of a 20-year-old from Atlanta, Georgia, who often posts about real life issues, is one of the first influencers onboard. On Instagram @knoxfrost, the virtual influencer has 1.1 million followers and launched his Twitter account on Friday.
“Let’s show them younger generations are in this fight,” reads his post on Instagram.
The Knox Frost account was attuned to the coronavirus crisis early on. In early February, it began sharing coronavirus-related posts.
Virtual influencers have been rising in popularity on social platforms, and brands like Calvin Klein, Prada and Versace have worked with digital Instagram models like Lil Miquela and Noonoouri, while brands like KFC, Balmain and Essence Cosmetics have created their own.
“In the era of social distancing, virtual influencers are quickly emerging as an innovative new part of the influencer landscape, so we are excited to have Knox Frost onboard to participate in our campaign with WHO,” says Ryan Detert.
Other influencers who have already posted for the campaign include Owin Pierson, an LGBTQ+ and mental health advocate who has 136,000 followers on Instagram, and Jasmine Sweet, a blogger who has 55,6000 followers on Instagram.
The WHO is separately working with other influencers and celebrities who have reached out wanting to raise donations for the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. Rita Ora, who has 16.1 million followers on Instagram, is selling #StoptheSpread merchandise with all proceeds going towards the fund.