Mimiyuuuh lights up the room – and screen – whenever she appears. The 25 year old, whose real name is Jeremy Sancebuche, is one of the most popular influencers in the Philippines, having amassed more than 4.2 million subscribers on YouTube and more than a million followers on Instagram. Her face is also on billboards, magazines and commercials all across the country.
This fame, according to Mimiyuuuh herself, was completely unexpected. Her first piece of viral content – a video of her dancing to the song “Kahit Ayaw Mo Na” – was made because she was bored after resigning from her job at a fashion company. Likewise for the video that she said “changed her life” – a hilarious, meme-worthy spoof of popular selfie poses, with the track “Dalagang Pilipina” playing in the background.
Less than six months after posting her “Dalagang Pilipina” video, Mimiyuuuh was tapped by Lazada to participate in a livestream segment for its 2019 Women’s Festival. It was one of her first engagements with a brand, and the campaign was a huge success. She was made the face of Lazada Philippines’ 12.12 campaign that same year.
While Mimiyuuuh was already garnering a steady following, her fame skyrocketed after her partnerships with Lazada. “Every morning I would wake up to see 10,000 more followers or something like that,” she recalled. “Lazada has been part of my journey as a social media influencer because they really put their trust into me.” Even now, many of her followers associate her with the eCommerce giant.
A Connected, Influential Network
Mimiyuuuh’s rise to fame reflects the burgeoning influencer market in the Philippines as well as Southeast Asia as a whole. According to a survey by Rakuten Insight in October 2020, close to 70% of respondents in the Philippines said they purchased a product because it was endorsed by an influencer.
At the forefront of this trend is Lazada. The eCommerce company launched its influencer network in 2018 and has since grown it to more than 400 Key Opinion Leaders, ranging from big-screen celebrities and subject-matter experts to grassroots personalities on social media platforms. Popular names within the network include actress Kathryn Bernardo, TikTok star Marvin Fojas, YouTube vlogger Rei Germar and, of course, Mimiyuuuuh.
“We saw a business need to streamline our KOL efforts by setting up the influencer network to be able to create efficiencies in our activations,” explained Neil Trinidad, Lazada Philippines’ chief marketing officer, adding that the move helped strengthen the company’s efforts across channels.
Trinidad also notes, in particular, how the pandemic has increased consumer trust and dependency on KOLs, especially those who have grown their influence on digital channels.
“The consumer shift to digital has redefined the path to popularity. Before, the path to fame entailed being a constant figure on the big screen. Today, the many social platforms and innovations that have been emerging have been crucial for talents to use to present themselves to their audiences,” Trinidad said. “Consumers have grown to be more heavily dependent on our KOLs to be their source of information, education, and entertainment. We also see how consumers look to our KOLs to provide uplifting content during these unprecedented times.”
Creative Freedom is Campaign Success
For an example of uplifting content, one only needs to look at Mimiyuuuh’s posts for Lazada’s 12.12 mega campaign last year. Fashioning herself as a literal gift, she donned a giant gift box and posed with a megawatt smile in the first post before launching into a festive shimmy in front of a Christmas tree in the second post.
“The internet can be a dangerous place, and things can be very triggering right now. So I think people look for something or someone that can uplift themselves. I hope I give them good vibes and pull them from the negative side of the internet,” Mimiyuuuh explained.
Indeed, Lazada cites positivity as a key trait among its influencer network as it reflects the company’s core values. The eCommerce platform also looks for KOLs who are relatable, authentic and stay true to their unique personalities.
“Creative freedom is given to our content creators to deliver our message in their unique style. Giving this trust and freedom to our content creators in our projects enables us to produce unique, creative and impactful content that benefits the company and as well as consumers,” Trinidad said.
This means also giving creators the freedom to choose brands and campaigns that they themselves believe in.
“I choose brands based on my experience with them,” Mimiyuuuh said. “I recommend things that I love using and that my followers might like to use.”
Her favourite brand experience so far was working with Lazada during 12.12 in 2019 to voice Waze, becoming the second Filipino in history to lend their voice to the navigation app.
“I try to incorporate myself in the [campaign] brief without changing who I am while still doing all the mandatories,” Mimiyuuuh explained. She showcased this authenticity on Waze, singing and tossing in her signature taglines (“Turn left. SKRRT!”) much to fans’ delight. Her voiceover was so popular, she recorded new phrases for the app in 2020.
Aside from providing opportunities and exposure to those in its influencer network, Lazada has also helped its KOLs explore other interests and areas beyond content creation. In doing this, the platform has enriched the overall eCommerce ecosystem. This past 12.12, for example, Mimiyuuuh partnered with some of her college friends to launch Dino Jars – a line of stainless steel vacuum tumblers – on Lazada. She also aims to return to her design roots this year as she continues to expand the possibilities of what she can bring to consumers.
This desire for constant growth and evolution fits perfectly with Lazada’s ethos and is the reason why Mimiyuuuh’s star will continue to rise. “I just want to create something different, always. That’s the inspiration: to do something different.”
Additional reporting by Leya Lazaro Castillo.
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