AI won't kill advertising. We will.

Fake AI-driven ads will reduce the consumer's trust in advertising and bring a ton of regulation our way. Stop it now.

Taylor Swift’s affinity for Le Creuset is real. What is not real: Ms. Swift’s endorsement of the company’s products, which have appeared in recent weeks in ads on Facebook and elsewhere featuring her face and voice. The ads are among the many celebrity-focused scams made far more convincing by artificial intelligence.

As a practicing advertising professional, I’m particularly worried about the trend of using AI to create totally fake ads “portraying” celebrities, situations and products.

Advertising has been “self-regulating” since I can remember (and I joined the industry 47 years ago). There are lawsuits by competitors, of course, which is how we mainly self-regulate, but there is no history of heavy-handedness from the government regulating us.

A separate industry evolved of celebrities banking on their popularity to sell products. And, we, as industry, took to it like a fish to water.

So, it’s worrisome when you see an ad using an AI-generated likeness of Taylor Swift’s voice selling Le Creusset cookware and then, inside the same week, have Tom Hanks, the journalist Gayle King and the YouTube personality MrBeast all saying that A.I. versions of themselves had been used, without permission, for deceptive dental plan promotions, iPhone giveaway offers and other ads.

The Le Creuset scam campaign also featured fabricated versions of Martha Stewart and Oprah Winfrey, who in 2022 posted an exasperated video about the prevalence of fake social media ads, emails and websites falsely claiming that she endorsed weight loss gummies.


My four major points:


  1. If advertising loses the trust and credibility of consumers, it’s toast. It behooves the industry to regulate themselves very strictly on the use of AI in advertising.


  1. If advertising doesn’t strictly regulate itself, there will be legislation –crushing legislation—coming our way which is not going to be pleasant.


  1. Media must do a way better job of stopping paid commercial fake AI-generated advertising before something happens and they, too, have some unpleasant regulation going their way too.
  2. The celebrity industry must take immediate and aggressive action against any fake use or risk losing billions in value.


In the end, if the marketing and advertising industry doesn’t take some preemptive action, Congress is going to take some reactive action.