A viral deepfake ad has switched the men and women soccer players to challenge gender stereotypes in the run-up before the Women’s World Cup which starts on Thursday. The video initially depicts star players of the French Men’s team including Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, and Olivier Giroud showing off their skills until it’s revealed that the video is doctored and viewers were actually watching footage of the women’s team.

‘Although attitudes are changing, we quickly realized that in TV shows, comments on social media, or conversations heard in bars, the discourse surrounding women’s football is still catastrophic, sexist, and full of prejudices that have no place in 2023,’ Margaux Grenouilloux, the strategic planner at the marketing agency behind the video told Muse by Clio.

Though meant to be empowering, the video instead reminds of the Black Mirror episode ‘Joan is Awful’. In it, Joan, an ordinary woman sees her life appropriated by a Netflix-like streaming platform and made into a TV show starring the AI-generated likeness of Salma Hayek. The episode sees Joan team up with the real Salma Hayek to destroy the computer that generates the TV show.

Joan is Awful

Credit: Nick Wall/Netflix.

The use of deepfake technology remains controversial and the ongoing Hollywood strikes, which have caused the industry’s biggest shutdown in over 60 years, have brought anxieties over AI replacing humans to the forefront. In what has been called Hollywood’s ‘first real strike of the social media age’, the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) have attempted and failed to reach an agreement with studios over base pay and residuals as well as how to regulate the use of these AI-powered tools to protect human-created work and guard against the possibility of digital replicas of actors being used without paying them.

AI, along with CGI has already been used to bring back deceased actors like Carrie Fisher and Paul Walker to appear in movies as well as to de-age actors to play younger versions of their characters.

Last week, the shutdown escalated as Hollywood actors joined writers, who have been striking since May, at the picket line. This included Christopher Nolan and the cast of Oppenheimer, who left the film’s premiere in London in support of the strikes. As a result, production on most US films and TV shows has been halted. Events including the Emmys and Comic-Con may have to be rescheduled or scaled back.

Hollywood writers' strikes outside Paramount Studios

Members of the Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild walk the picket line outside of Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, California, on July 18, 2023. Tens of thousands of Hollywood actors went on strike at midnight July 13, 2023, effectively bringing the giant movie and television business to a halt as they join writers in the first industry-wide walkout for 63 years. (Photo by Chris Delmas / AFP) (Photo by CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images)


The actors’ union has warned that AI ‘poses an existential threat to creative professions’. Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the chief negotiator for the SAG-AFTRA union, has said that studios had asked for the ability to scan the faces of background actors for the payment of one day’s work, and then be able to own.

Some are embracing AI, however. Among them is Singaporean actress, model and former radio DJ Jamie Yeo, who has signed a deal with a financial technology firm that allows it to use a digitally manipulated likeness of her to sell their content. After spending a few hours in front of a green screen to capture her face and movements as well as a studio to capture her voice, an AI programme then uses this information to generate a digital alter-ego of Yeo.

She told the BBC that though she understands why people are concerned, ‘This technology is here to stay’ and that ‘Even if you don’t embrace it because you’re scared, there will be other people who will embrace it.’

Soccer superstars Lionel Messi and David Beckham have also both dabbled with deepfake technology, though, unlike Yeo, they haven’t  signed away full image rights.

Lionel Messi deepfake

Credit: Lay’s.

Sources: Viral Deepfake Ad Switches Men and Women Soccer Players to Make Powerful Statement via Petapixel and other news stories via BBC.

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