On the remote chance you haven’t heard about him already, check out Kentucky Fried Chicken’s newest stunt, the virtual colonel. The company has a long history of cleverly lampooning itself, and the world, with advertising that sometimes featured and sometimes mocked its founder, the white suited Colonel Sanders. However, in recent months, KFC has outdone itself. It created a “virtual influencer” (i.e. a computer generated figure that looks like a real person) and placed it on Instagram.

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Having an ice-cold @DrPepper #ad while I gaze pensively out the window with a fresh perspective on the world. Always take time to be quiet and reflect, especially when you can get a new perspective on the world. It’s a big part of the #secretrecipeforsuccess. It’s so important to take the time to get a new perspective. Like when you’re super high in the air and the earth looks real small. #secretrecipeforsuccess #drpepper #imapepper #privatejet #reflecting #grateful #grateful365 #humbled #friedchicken #friedchickentattoo #advice #success #entrepreneur #behindthecurtain #keys #respect #inspiration #positive #positivethoughts #artistatwork #reflectiongram #blessed #travel #virtualcolonel

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Computer generated virtual influencers aren’t new. A number have appeared in social media, for example, Lil Miquela and Shudu.gram. The KFC creation is, however, rather different. He is (apparently) a youthful millionaire who jets about the world in a private plane while meditating on business success and personal happiness. Or, to put it another way, he is a pitch perfect parody of the annoyingly self-satisfied real life influencers who occupy so much of Instagram’s real estate.

The KFC character is, admittedly, an acquired taste. He has to be read as a joke, and even then it can be hard to take. (The general tone of readers’ comments on “his” postings aren’t exactly complimentary. #notmycolonel is a frequent posting.) And it is important to keep in mind that he is the product of a multi-million corporation that peddles fast food.

Still, you have to admire the technical skill with which he was created, and the fact that he so clever a parody. Perhaps, indeed, he is important. Even the companies that are making influencers rich perceive that more and more normal people are damn tired of the self-indulgent beauties who fill Instagram from end to end–and, maybe, of the materialism that makes them possible.