Deepfake IPA Council debates whether AI is a threat to adland


A convincing deepfake debate has revealed that agency leaders are split on whether AI is a threat to the advertising business.

This is the conclusion of the recent IPA Council debate on the subject, in which the arguments for and against the motion were presented via AI-created and deepfake deployed versions of former IPA President Julian Douglas and IPA Director General Paul Bainsfair.

It was decided by just one vote that AI does not spell trouble for advertising agencies.

AI deepfake films

The films were created by Morten Legarth, Creative Director at VCCP, and generated by AI – the scripts written by GPT 3.5, the voices generated using Eleven Labs and the face animations created by D-ID, and that they had then been applied to pre-recorded video of Dougie and Paul using After Affects.

He added that the whole process for both films had taken him about 30 minutes.

Arguing for the motion that AI spells trouble for advertising agencies, ‘Dougie’ (below) said: “AI is a major threat to advertising, and it will change every aspect of the industry.

While some may argue that human creativity is still essential, I believe that AI has the potential to revolutionise the way we approach advertising and create more effective campaigns.

“It’s time for the advertising industry to embrace the power of AI. We must adapt to the changing landscape of our profession or risk becoming irrelevant.

“I urge all of you to take a closer look at how AI can transform your advertising campaigns and start experimenting with this technology today.”

Arguing against the motion and stating that AI is not a threat to agencies, ‘Paul’ (below) said: “While AI technology certainly has its benefits, it is not a threat to the future of advertising agencies.

“Human beings are the ones that build the relationships, develop strategies, and create content that resonates with the intended audience.

“AI technology cannot replace the value of human creativity, intuition, and empathy.

“I want to emphasise that while AI technology is a useful tool there is no danger that it represents an existential threat to advertising agencies.

“Let us continue to do what we do best and develop innovative and impactful campaigns that achieve real results for our clients.”

After some input from the Council members, who were transfixed by what they were seeing, the motion was lost by the barest of margins.

It appears that until AI can understand nuance, ethics, and the appropriateness of moment – and it no longer requires a talented human being to create these things, even with all the AI tools – then humans still have the advantage.

But only just. And in the meantime ChatGPT is already being seen as a useful tool in agencies for doing some tasks, including research, or contributing the occasional ad for a pitch. Clients take note.

In the meantime, the IPA has been asked to develop more advice its members around the tools available and what’s legal to do, and what’s not.