You knew this was going to happen. We all did. It just happened that much quicker than we expected. Major brands are now using Ai generated images to advertise their products instead of choosing the more traditional photographer/human model option.
French lingerie brand Undiz has caused a few ripples recently by using nothing but AI-generated images to advertise its bikini range. Several of these ads have been spotted around Paris on billboards and bus stops.
Obviously, this isn’t a world first. Several leading brands have been experimenting with the medium. However, this is a first for France.
The other interesting aspect is that by French law, manipulated images must be fully disclosed as such. In the top right-hand corner of the image, you can clearly see the words “Image generated by AI” (that’s my official translation, not even Google’s, you’re welcome!).
A first for the French market, Undiz launches their AI generated Summer 2023 campaign. Already on bus stops around Paris they display the legally mandated manipulated image disclaimer. pic.twitter.com/pMwIGt50DT
— LOUIS (@LouisPisano) April 28, 2023
Since the images have been posted on Twitter, they have created quite a bit of discussion. “Je deteste,” says one particularly outspoken comment, no mincing words there, literally saying, “I hate it!” “Their faces look so scary,” and a simple “Ew, it’s hideous” lets you know just how effective this campaign could be.
The ads were created by Cowboys Agency, a French branding company. Looking at their work, they have quite a reputable history with many big-name luxury brands, such as Louis Vuitton, Chloé, and Chanel, to name but a few. Clearly, the majority of their work is along the more traditional routes of big-budget ad campaigns using photography.
I find it refreshing that the company must state that an image has been manipulated. I wish all countries had this directive in place, and in this day and age, I think it’s imperative to know whether an image is ‘real’ or not. Of course, in the case of advertising, the boundaries have always been blurred between reality and creative vision, even with photographs.
However, if we are currently living in The Age of Misinformation, it is only going to get worse in the coming year or two. Soon, most people will not be able to tell the difference between an AI-generated image and a real photograph. It could have detrimental effects on teens’ body image via social media (you thought influencers using Photoshop was bad?).
More worrying could be the effect it has on photojournalism. If we cannot rely on a photograph for the truth, how can we believe that horrific events in history actually happened? We already, unfortunately, have holocaust deniers. This could merely add to their numbers. The sad part, as we know, is that to deny history is to risk repeating it.
We need this transparency. Ai images are flooding photography groups, trying to be passed off as photographs. At the moment, it’s still obvious, even though an AI-generated image managed to fool judges at the Sony World Photography Award last month.
Just like the artist who created that, he was merely trying to ‘generate’ a discussion about AI and the future of generative imaging. This bikini advertisement seems to be doing just that.
Perhaps the Cowboys Agency really knows what it’s doing, they might even sell a few knickers in the process! What do you think? Do you like the ads?