Viral Deepfake Ad Switches Men and Women Soccer Players to Make Powerful Statement

As the Women’s World Cup approaches, a clever marketing video has employed the latest deepfake technology to challenge gender stereotypes.

An ad by telecoms company Orange shows an epic sizzle reel of the French men’s soccer team displaying their skills, featuring huge stars like Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, and Olivier Giroud. Except, it’s not actually them.

The twist comes halfway through the video when it is revealed the footage viewers have just watched is doctored. The soccer players performing the scintillating skills belong to the women’s team, not the men’s team.

“Only Les Bleus can give us these emotions. But that’s not them you’ve just seen” reads a title in the video.

The smart video drives home the point that women’s soccer is just as exciting and craftful as the men’s game.

Praise for the Technology

Deepfake technology is controversial, it offers a whole new level of image manipulation. But, the smart use of it in this ad shows its positive uses.

Plenty of work went into the advertisement, with the marketing agency behind the video, Marcel, having to look through footage from over 80 men’s and women’s soccer matches.

“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, strategic planner at Marcel, tells Muse by Clio.

“We knew that football fans always disagreed on many topics: clubs, players, predictions, the level of women’s teams.

“But we knew that there was one thing they never questioned: beautiful technical skills. The love for skillful plays that garner millions and millions of views on streaming platforms, with ‘best-of’ videos on specialized channels followed by countless football fans.”

Women’s soccer has long lagged behind the men’s game with a $150 million total prize pool on offer for the upcoming tournament whereas $440 million was given to the winner of last year’s men’s World Cup in Qatar.

The 2023 Women’s World Cup kicks off on Thursday (July 20) and will be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand. The USA are favorites to lift the trophy.