How Deepfakes Are Changing The Media & Advertising Industry

19 April, 2021 (Monday)

Deepfake has been gaining a lot of popularity in the past year. 

The term 'Deepfake' is derived from the underlying technology "deep learning," which is a form of Artificial Intelligence. Deep learning algorithms, which teach themselves how to solve problems when given large sets of data, are used to swap faces in videos and digital content to make realistic-looking fake media. The major distinction between Deepfakes and more traditional forms of video editing or CGI is that Deepfakes are produced solely using computer algorithms rather than doing it manually. 

Ever since the pandemic, brands have been turning to Deepfakes to make the process of creating commercials more convenient and efficient. 

The American OTT platform, Hulu, recently used deepfakes to superimpose the faces of various pro athletes on different bodies as a way of promoting its live sports offerings. 

Spotify got into Deepfake music by launching a listening experience featuring a virtual avatar of R&B star, The Weeknd. Spotify created a personalized experience based on user's listening history. Through it, The Weeknd will talk to the users about how long they’ve been listening to his music, their most listened to song, and even thank them for supporting him. It is created such that the artist would even take the user's name. After speaking, The Weeknd will start playing music and show the artist’s full body using artificial intelligence and 3D mapping technology. Users would be able to listen to his songs whilst watching the artist walk, sit in a chair, or even stare the users in the eyes.

https://theweeknd.withspotify.com/

ESPN and State Farm's game-changing commercial during the screening of NBA documentary ‘The Last Dance’. It featured 1998 footage of sports anchor Kenny Mayne reporting on the result of the finals that year, before unexpectedly using the word “lit” and adding that the clip will be used in the future to promote the documentary in a State Farm ad. This goes to show the viability of Deepfakes for commercial use during unprecedented times. 

If there is one thing that's clear, Deepfakes are here to stay with all the new and exiting possibilities that it contains. Advertising industry must tread cautiously to use them in a constructive and transparent way. That is, however, a worthy trade-off for the new and exciting creative possibilities that deepfake technology affords. Advertising is, after all, always an early adopter and core driver of new technologies, so let’s collectively try to stay on the right trajectory with this one. It’s more important than usual.