Burlington company launches synthetic social media influencers

Published: Aug. 6, 2019 at 8:59 AM EDT
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A Burlington company has launched two animated synthetic celebrities they hope will become the newest social media influencers to capture the attention of millennials.

Janky and Guggimon have taken on a life of their own with a little help from Vermont company Superplastic.

"We make these incredible, limited edition toys and other amazing products, everything is character-based," said Paul Budnitz, the company's founder and CEO.

Janky and Guggimon are examples of what Budnitz hopes to be the future of animated characters. In the past, people interacted with animated characters through comic books, movies and television, but now they are trying social media.

"We decided we would do our animation direct and put it directly on social media," said Budnitz.

While they might not be real, their personalities are, and they have taken on a life of their own on social media with almost 100,000 fans.

"Janky is a little on the crazier side. He's a little more unpredictable and harder to wrangle. Guggimon is a fashion horror artist. He is a toy artist and a sculptural artist," explained Karsen Woods, Superplastic's senior creative content producer.

Woods manages the two characters and says they get offered real money to promote products. She says just the other day, Janky had to turn down an offer.

"He just got offered to do a jewelry ad, and he's like, 'I really want to do this.' And there's no reason for him to promote this random jewelry brand," she said.

It might seem out of place for this company to be in Vermont, but Budnitz says it's the perfect location.

"I don't think we could do what we are doing anywhere else. In a way, what you might call the isolation of Vermont is our creative crucible. It works for us," said Budnitz.

It's unclear what's next for the two influencers, but Woods says they are trailblazing a new industry and the sky is the limit.