What do deepfakes mean for advertising?



We spoke to Alexandre Ben-Soussan, Strategy Director at BETC, about how brands respond to deepfake technology, the ethical issues it poses, and how it could be used in advertising

Since the beginning of advertising, celebrities have been used to endorse products to give them a bit of star power and glamor. In recent years, with the advent of influencer culture, this has gotten more nuanced: a celebrity presenting a product or brand may bring appeal and reach, but influencers create a closer relationship with their followers. When an influencer we admire and interact with says that a product is good, we tend to trust them (in theory anyway).

So what if it turns out that the person introducing a brand or product is actually not quite what they appear to be? That an ad shows not just her face or voice, but only an outline of it?

It’s something that unravels in real time through the use of deepfakes in advertising and marketing content. Deepfakes involve neural networks that are fed a data set to essentially create an imitation of a person’s likeness – either their face or their voice. Deepfakes at the “more professional” end of the spectrum usually involve an actor with facial or voice characteristics similar to the person they are impersonating, such as the 2019 series of ominous deepfakes by Donald Trump, Mark Zuckerberg and Kim Kardashian from Bill Posters, or the excellent one Tom Cruise parodies which spread like wildfire across TikTok and beyond earlier this year.



Leave A Reply