IT was supposed to be a ground-breaking launch of the UK high street's first "virtual influencer", but Marks and Spencer's CGI creation is receiving a backlash from customers.

A virtual influencer?

High Street giant M&S introduced “Mira” on their social media a few days ago. At first glance, the creation looks heavily photoshopped, with long brunette hair, a block fringe, luminous skin and sparkling eyes. Seen sporting M&S fashion, it transpires her name stands for “Marks & Spencer, Influencer, Reality, Augmented” and she is virtual.

So she is their latest model?

M&S say of Mira, who has her own Instagram account: “You might notice something different about her…She was created by a computer. She’s the first M&S virtual influencer and is here to share all of her chic fashion and home finds with you.”


Although it is augmented reality (AR), Mira has a “back story”, with M&S saying the virtual influencer is supposedly 32 and works at the M&S Support Centre as a digital designer. Her style is described as “chic and classic with the occasional bold print thrown in for good measure”. She also “loves discovering new trends”.

It’s a hi-tech direction?

Mira was created in collaboration with creative tech agency, Happy Finish. Jeremy Yates, director of strategic partnerships at the agency, said “Marks & Spencer are real leaders when it comes to strategic use of cutting-edge technology to engage existing and new audiences.”


Anna Braithwaite, M&S director of marketing for clothing & home, said: “Her introduction is the just latest example of how M&S has become bolder in experimenting with emerging technology and trends to inspire our customers…A virtual influencer means we can be more fleet of foot in live trends/conversations and opens possibilities in both the physical and virtual world in the future.”


Customers are bombarding the comments of the store’s Instagram pages with negative responses, including: “Never normally comment but felt compelled on this occasion. 100% agree this is a step too far. How does this embrace diversity and reflect your customer base?” Other comments are simply: “Just NO!” One follower added: “Read the room. This is an epic fail.” And another said they were “disturbed by the ‘perfect’ aesthetic”, adding they were “probably in one of your main demographic groups” for shopping.

It goes on?

One customer said it was “quite frankly ridiculous”, while another added it was “an insult” and one of the many more thousands of responses stated: “Would rather see real clothes on real people.” One official Instagram post featured Mira in leggings and a coat and the caption stated: “Mira is kitted out perfectly for her Saturday pilates class”, but a reply read: “Mira doesn’t exist. There is no pilates class.”

What do M&S say?

Some Instagram followers accused the store of “deleting comments that do not like the virtual ads”. 

What about real “influencers”?

Mira is part of “M&S Insiders”, which launched in 2018, and is made up of M&S colleagues – from store employees and stylists to buyers and designers – who share style tips and product finds with their followers online.