TikTok Will Have Ads Featuring AI-Generated Versions of Real People

A seated man with short, curly hair and a casual green shirt smiles at the camera in a TikTok video. The screen shows typical TikTok interface elements, including icons for likes, comments, and favorites on the right side, with "Following | For you" text at the top.

TikTok may soon have ads featuring AI-generated versions of popular creators and stock actors to add a “human touch.”

In a blog post published on Monday, TikTok announced it would be rolling out a tool that will allow brands to use AI-generated avatars of real people in ads on the platform.

A browser window displays Symphony Creative Studio. The "Avatar" tab is active, showing avatars named and located in various settings: "Bella in the bathroom," "Marcus in the bedroom," "Malik in the bathroom," "Alex in bathroom," "Alex in cloakroom," and "Alex in bedroom.

The tool, known as “Symphony Digital Avatars,” will enable advertisers to opt for two types of avatars. Brands can choose from a selection of stock avatars trained on the likenesses of real paid actors that are licensed for commercial use. 

Alternatively, brands can go for a customizable avatar that could be designed to look like a particular TikTok creator or a brand spokesperson. Furthermore, these customizable avatars have the ability to converse in multiple languages.

Advertisers will be able to dub their content into over 10 languages and dialects, including French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and Korean. TikTok says the tool automatically detects what language is being spoken in videos and is capable of transcribing, translating, and producing a dubbed video in whatever language is selected.

Brands will be able to modify the avatars to meet their specifications, placing them in different settings — like a bathroom, kitchen, or garden for example.

TikTok says that it is currently testing the feature with creators. The company says it will label ads built from the “Symphony Digital Avatars” tool as AI-generated.

‘Immersive and Authentic’

According to TikTok, the aim is “to help creators and brands captivate global audiences and deliver impactful messages in an immersive and authentic way.”

TikTok says these new tools are intended to break down language barriers in marketing and allow brands to “add a human touch to their content” where real models or presenters wouldn’t otherwise be used.

In its blog post, TikTok appeared to address some of the concern around AI technology replacing human content creators.

“TikTok Symphony is designed to enhance and amplify human imagination, not replace it,” the company claims.

“By handling the heavy lifting, it gives you and your team the freedom to focus on the strategic and empathetic aspects of your TikTok marketing.”

TikTok claims that these AI-generated avatars are “designed to enhance and amplify human imagination, not replace it.”

However, according to Business Insider, some content creators have raised the alarm about what generative AI could mean for their livelihoods and the future of their industry on TikTok.

“If this is something that caught on, I’d be very scared for the future of my business,” micro-influencer Kristen Bousquet tells the publication.


Image credits: All photos via TikTok.