(NewsReady.com) – Advertising is all about diversity now. Commercials like to showcase multiracial and same-sex families. It seems even that isn’t diverse enough for Levi’s, though. It has just announced that it plans to use AI to generate new, even more diverse characters for its marketing.
In a confusing announcement, Levi’s announced it made AI models to be more diverse. https://t.co/23udOtKoVA
— New York Magazine (@NYMag) March 27, 2023
On March 22, Levi Strauss & Co, which has been making blue jeans for over 150 years, announced it is partnering with digital fashion studio Lalaland.ai. Amsterdam-based Lalaland uses artificial intelligence to generate “hyper-realistic models of every body type, age, size and skin tone.” Levi’s says these “body-inclusive” virtual people will give customers a “more inclusive, personal and sustainable shopping experience.”
According to Levi’s, the goal is to let customers see the company’s clothes on models that look like themselves. That suggests they want to use AI technology to let customers generate a virtual model with their own size and skin color. In fact, it seems likely customers would prefer to see a photo of the actual product on a real human, so they can tell what it looks like, but Levi’s is hedging its bets. The company says it doesn’t see AI as replacing human models; they plan to “supplement” real models with virtual ones.
Unfortunately, the initial announcement wasn’t as clear as it could have been, and sparked backlash. Many people wondered why, if Levi’s is so concerned about diversity, it doesn’t just hire “actual Black and Brown models” instead of using AI to create them.
On March 28, the company added a clarification, admitting it knows there’s “considerable sensitivity” about AI and reassuring customers that it won’t stop using human models. Meanwhile, some people might be wondering why Levi’s is so focused on diversity when it should probably be concentrating on staying profitable. Since 2020, the company has let 1,500 staff go to cut costs. This might not be the best time to spend money on AI-generated advertising.
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