The Age of the Virtual Influencer




Snow Steam Iron

After his 20-year-old daughter’s devastating suicide, director of  Zack Snyder realized he needed to channel his heartbreak more creatively to help himself cope. Accordingly, Snyder enlisted his family and close friends to create a four-minute short called Snow Steam Iron. Shot solely on an iPhone, Snow Steam Iron is characteristic of Snyder’s films, featuring slow-mo violence and dark hues as it centers around a cop who abuses his girlfriend, leading her to seek revenge and justice. Blurring the lines between traditional and new media, Snyder says filming the short was a cathartic experience and he wants the masses to see that anyone with a phone can make a movie that will change his or her life.

Coke's Virtual Athlete

FIFA aficionados have no doubt heard of Alex Hunter. Grandson of a 1960’s soccer star, Hunter is trying to become a soccer stud in his own right. The catch? He’s not a real person, but a virtual character from EA’s new FIFA 18, which allows players to follow the “lives” of game characters off the field. After landing an endorsement deal with adidas, the virtual star has now signed a deal with Coca-Cola, which features the digitally-designed teen recreating one of the beverage brand’s most iconic commercials, “Mean Joe Green.” Hunter’s deal with Coke is further proof that future generations’ icons and influencers will increasingly be a mix of real and virtual.

Patagonia's Worn Wear

From donating 100% of its $10 million Black Friday profits to environmental causes to taking on the Trump administration’s legislation to scale back national monuments, Patagonia has walked the walk when it comes to environmental sustainability time and time again. Now, the brand has launched a designated online shop for their much-loved Worn Wear program that allows people to trade in their used Patagonia items at any store for credit towards new ones. The apparel company takes the used clothing, repairs it, and resells it at A great place to get vintage Patagonia finds, Worn Wear couldn’t have come at a better time with the rise in “gorpcore,” a new fashion trend consisting of outdoorsy apparel that we’ll delve into more in our next Trendera Files report.




Bitten: A Food Conversation

Bitten, one of our favorite food, tech, and culture conferences, is headed back to New York on October 27th. Each year, the gathering features a group of speakers and influencers to discuss all things food, where the industry is heading, and why it matters to all of us. This year, attendees will be able to explore topics like “On Food & Identity” from Bon Appetit’s Andy Baraghani, “On How to Get Noticed in Food Media” from Vice’s John Martin, and a sneak peek into future food trends from Trendera’s very own Megan Collins! Subscribers to The Trendera Files Weekly will receive 10% offtickets  to the event using code TRENDERA10. We hope to see you there!


Another day, another viral anonymous app for teens. Dubbed “Tinder for teens,” Yellow is a friend finding app that allows users to make new friends based on their location. The app connects to users’ Snapchat and Instagram accounts and gives them the option of matching with boys, girls, or both. Also like Tinder, they can review each other’s profiles and swipe right to match, left if they’re not interested. Not surprisingly, the app is loathed among Gen Z parents over how easy it to connect with strangers using location, but when has that ever stopped these crafty Zs?

Twitch & TurboVote

In an ongoing non-partisan effort to encourage participation in politics, Twitch partnered with web app TurboVote on September 26th for National Voter Registration Day. TurboVote tracks users local and national elections, sends reminders, and allows users to update their voter registration or request an absentee ballot all from the comfort of their home. The activation consisted of A-list content creators on Twitch encouraging their fans to utilize TurboVote’s convenient platform so that they could participate in this year’s local elections. Easily inspiring Twitch’s dedicated 10 million daily active users to get political without having to end their live stream, this natural partnership deserves some props!

Kristin Castillo