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Branding beyond the grave: Can we control our image after death?

Artificial intelligence (AI) paves the way for marketing messages from the deceased
- tribute or travesty?

You can argue that branding beyond the grave has been around for a long time, particularly in the form of product placement in movies, such as this 1919 Buster Keaton /Roscoe Arbuckle film 'The Garage'.
Movie giant MGM has just unveiled the updating of the traditional opening for its movies: we now see a computer-generated (CGI)  'Leo the lion' roaring into action (top image). Can you spot which is which?

Now, AI appears to be muttering its lines and limbering up in the wings getting ready to strut out onto the stage with the ability to raise the dead.

This March, 2021 article from The Conversation reports that:

"It was recently revealed that in 2017 Microsoft patented a chatbot which, if built, would digitally resurrect the dead. Using AI and machine learning, the proposed chatbot
would bring our digital persona back to life
for our family and friends to talk to."

If you're interested, you might want to check out the full article for The Conversation's research on "the surprisingly complex legal question of what happens to your data after you die."
The MyHeritage website now offers a #DeepNostalgia function allowing you to animate pictures of deceased loved ones to create videos of them apparently moving and smiling. English explanation here.
And Andalusian beer Cruzcampo has taken a bold step with this ad featuring late Spanish icon Lola Flores delivering a message of the 'poderío´ she embodied. "You call it empowerment these days don't you?", asks her AI reincarnation.
The Andalusian singer, flamenco dancer and actress Lola Flores (1939-1995) lived life on her own terms, carving a determinedly flamboyant path through Spain in the 40s and 50s, defying social morés during the height of the Franco dictatorship.
At a time of artistic censorship, she blazoned rebellious sexuality across headlines, screens and stages, and became friends with the likes of US actress Ava Gardner, with whom she's pictured here.
Lola once said: "I felt like a gypsy without being one," and she epitomised the passionate, indomitable spirit of that community which is expressed in the ad. Her daughters Rosario and Lolita both endorse the campaign by Cruzcampo.

What do you think of it? Tribute or travesty?
Is it questionable to be putting words into the mouth of the dead, or is it permissible if their legal heirs have sanctioned the message and use of the image?


Posted by Tree Elven on 07/08/2021

Keywords: Cruzcampo Lola Flores, branding beyond death, image rights after death,Cruzcampo beer, Artificial intelligence in ads, AI in advertising, deepfake

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