Virtual Celebrities and Consumers: A Blended Reality: How Virtual Celebrities are Consumed in the East and West

Thuy Duong Hoang & Yidan Su

Student thesis: Master thesis


The goal of this study is to research how virtual celebrities are consumed in the East and West. The digital revolution has led to a surge in circulation of information. This has contributed to the transformation of human attention from an innate information gathering tool to a profitable resource, paving the way for the economy of attention. Therefore, it is significant for marketers and companies to understand how to attract attention. As celebrities enjoy large amounts of attention, they have been widely used in endorsement campaigns. Yet, their human flaws can still lead to scandals. Therefore, we argue that virtual celebrities can be used as an alternative. They are a new type of celebrity, who are able to perform ‘real life’ activities and earn money. Examples from the East include the virtual singer Hatsune Miku and the virtual YouTuber Kizuna AI, while the West is represented by the virtual band Gorillaz, or virtual model Lil Miquela, among others. A descriptive approach is used to describe the preferences of Eastern and Western consumers in context of virtual celebrities. Our research philosophy consists of objectivism and positivism. Applying a deductive research strategy, we draw hypotheses from literature, which will be tested using quantitative methods. Data was collected through a survey applying a snowball sampling method. The subsequent data analysis in SPSS involved factor analysis to verify the survey validity and reduce the dimensions of our survey. Afterwards, the Independent Samples t-Test was applied to examine whether there are significant differences between our two groups, i.e. Eastern and Western consumers. Four factors – interaction, misbehavior, appearance, and opinion – were tested to see if there are any differences between how virtual celebrities are consumed in the East and West. Based on our results and discussion, we have pointed out how virtual celebrities are consumed in the East and West. Market practitioners could take these subtle differences into account when planning on using virtual celebrities in their marketing strategies.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages140