AirAsia has removed all posts from the Instagram profile of its virtual influencer Miss AVA. AirAsia's spokesperson told A+M that AVA is returning to her roots as a virtual assistant and will focus on developing her capabilities to serve its guests more effectively and efficiently. "Any latest developments will be updated in due course," the spokesperson said.

Miss AVA was officially launched in March 2020 as an evolution of the chatbot named AVA (AirAsia Virtual Allstar) which was unveiled in January 2019. According to the company previously, Miss AVA was created to engage consumers and attend to their queries as well as drive social engagement.

Miss AVA was mainly present on Instagram and would post travel-related content. Capital A's chief brand officer Rudy Khaw told A+M previously that Miss AVA was conceptualised in early 2019 but the team took a little under a year to reveal her because they wanted to ensure AVA had the right look that could cut across markets.

As Miss AVA has no race, religion or nationality, Khaw previously explained that her sense of flexibility and consistency will be constant. She also embodies the values of an AirAsia Allstar such as integrity, passionate, and hardworking. She is also honest, bubbly, caring, futuristic, open to new adventures, and embraces her individuality.

The company also recently retired its first virtual idol , Aozora Kurumi, which debuted last May as part of Project Kavvaii, a programme to discover and develop the next big virtual idol in ASEAN. She is officially retiring from livestreaming and social media activities from 7 August and her YouTube channel membership on Streamlabs tip page will shut on 9 August. Existing content on Kurumi's YouTube channel and social accounts will remain public as part of the airasia ecosystem.

AirAsia isn't the only one to have moved away from virtual influencers after taking the bold step to experiment with them. Last year, PUMA Southeast Asia told A+M that it moved away from virtual influencer Maya which was used to promote its Future Rider sneakers in 2020. Head of marketing Eleanor Wang explained that the Future Rider sneakers launch was a key product launch for PUMA, hence it wanted to make an impact. Also, the launch coincided with the beginning of the pandemic. As such, PUMA leveraged the virtual influencer strategy to capture attention.

While influencers might have been the talk of the town over the past few years, a Milieu study conducted in December 2021 found that only 12% of consumers in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, and Vietnam find them more credible than human influencers . Meanwhile, 31% virtual influencers are less credible than human ones. In fact, 30% of Malaysians surveyed think they are less credible while 39% find them as credible as human influencers. That said, 49% of Malaysians do find virtual influencers interesting and the top three personality traits that draw consumers to them are confident, funny, and friendly.

Related articles:
Opinion: Will traditional ideals of beauty have any role in the metaverse?
Are virtual influencers less credible than human ones? SEA consumers weigh in
Interview: Why PUMA SEA moved away from virtual influencer Maya
airasia retires first virtual idol Kurumi after one year

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