Most people are familiar with deepfake videos where it appears that a person is doing and saying things they actually never did or said. As the AI technology behind deepfakes becomes better and better, so do the results of deepfake creations.

Recent advances in this AI-based technology are happening so quickly, that it is becoming fairly easy and cheap to make high quality deepfakes. Deepfakes are created by AI that continually tests the results of a video, audio and/or text until they reach a “realism” threshold. Like any other technology tool, some people will use this tool for good and some will use it to do very bad things.

Most discussions on this topic highlight the negative aspects of deepfakes. But deepfakes are not all bad, and it’s important for businesses to understand the benefits of using deepfake, especially in marketing.

The dangers of deepfakes are around manipulating an audience to believe something happened that never actually happened.

For example, a deepfake can be used to make it seem like the CEO of a company is an evil, nefarious character (like in this video of Mark Zuckerberg). This video was created well over a year ago, and if it were produced now, you would have a hard time telling this isn’t real.

Many experts fear that deepfakes will be used just prior to the November election to make it seem as if a candidate said or did something terrible, when it was merely a trick to discredit that candidate. It’s even more likely a candidate will do or say something terrible and claim what you see and hear is a deepfake.

Deepfake audio has already been successfully used to steal $243K from a company when the voice of the CEO was created to order a subordinate to move money to a supplier.

THE BENEFITS OF DEEPFAKES
But all is not doom and gloom. Deepfakes can be very useful to marketers. And because the technology is rapidly improving, we will start to see better and better quality results. Here are some examples:

David Beckham in a commercial about malaria awareness speaks nine languages.

State Farm has a very creative ad featuring an announcer from many years ago predicting the future correctly. This ad captured the imagination of audiences who turned this into a viral success.

Other areas where deepfake technologies can be good for business include:
Hyper-personalized entertainment where the user is featured in the video clip
Avatars that feature your favorite star trying on clothes in a virtual store
Creating advertisements featuring highly-localized spokespeople who may be created from scratch to appeal to locals
The creation of any media when in-person work is discouraged. Movies, television, streaming media, etc. can all be done in a studio for much less than it costs to bring in the talent.

Some companies in this sector include Tangent.ai, Tencent, Synthesia, Canny, Modulate AI and Dessa (acquired by Square).

Most people are concerned about the proliferation of deepfake technology, and it’s important for all of us to be aware of the dangers. 

At the same time, a whole new world of marketing is opening up that will have much greater influence on buyers. Marketers should be adopting this technology to help improve brand value, increase brand awareness, and move buyers closer purchasing their products. The businesses that use deepfake technology to positively engage with their target audiences will gain customer loyalty and market share.