What’s behind a Virtual Influencer: An Interview with Joerg Zuber, Creator of Noonoouri

Noonoouri in a dress by Valentino in Tokyo via Joerg Zuber

Noonouri is not your typical 19-year-old girl. She has over 200,000 Instagram followers, already boasts collaborations with the biggest fashion brands and she enviably lives in Paris. And while her dreams and ambitions cannot be more real, she hardly is; she only exists in the virtual world.She is a virtual influencer.Her motto? #NeverBeSilent

Joerg Zumber is the creator and artistic director of Noonoouri, and she still remains his most ambitious work so far. For Zumber, creating an i-doll has been a childhood dream -and a passion project that skyrocketed. He and his creative agency Opium Effect envisioned Noonoouri as a disruptor in the digital influencer landscape; a life-like digital doll with some very real core values to characterize her. Investors were skeptical yet the team knew it was going to eventually be a success and backed up the ambitious project only to later land collaborations with prestigious fashion brands such as Marc Jacobs, Dior, and Versace. In the world of the metaverse, Noonoouri has been a superhit.

We had questions though. On the virtual influencer scene, the core values they embody and the kind of diversity they promote. Jeorg Zumber had a solid answer on everything.

What is the message you want to convey through Noonoouri?

There are basically two messages: “Never Be Silent” is her manifesto. To speak up for those who have no voice and/or are in need – first of all, children, animals, and nature. Not in a shocking way, but in a very subtle and touching way. The second is “Believe in your Dreams” – as Noonoouri is a childhood dream to me, and I received so many “NOs” and input that she will never be successful. The more NOs I received the stronger she grew – only by believing in her.

Human influencer marketing and digital influencer marketing; What are their strategic differences?

The main difference between humans and digital is that in digital anything is possible. If we have a shoot on the moon or underwater – if she has to appear at a show in Bejing at the same time like in NYC – anything is possible. We can think out of the box. On the other hand, a selfie video just showing the OFTD takes in digital days/weeks and a human can do it right away.

Are digital models contributing to the diversity of the model/influencer universe?

Absolutely. More than ever before. Look at the actual situation – digital is bringing the people together like never before – and this is just the beginning. No matter what color, sexuality, religion,… real or digital – life is diverse and this is amazing!

How can a virtual model convey human values?

A virtual character should have – like any other brand – values. I would not necessarily say that these are human values in specific. I’d say everyone a person, a brand, a company, and also a digital character should stand for something. Once this can be seen, felt in each and every step, this creation will be perceived and respected, loved or no liked.

You have founded a very successful design and branding agency. What other work are you proud of?

Luckily I can say that I LOVE my job – and I am thankful for every project I can do where I can set my creativity free. I love to go un-walked pathways, I go the way that seems not to be the easiest way, in order to grow myself, in order to challenge my team and make them grow upon themselves. all with respect, responsibility, and endless creativity.

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