Taylor Swift’s recent collection of Le Creuset cookware has been the subject of several articles, a documentary on Netflix, and a Tumblr account. However, the association between Swift and the cookware is not real. Recently, fake ads featuring her face and voice, created using artificial intelligence technology, have been circulating. The ads claim that Swift is giving away free cookware sets to fans. In reality, Le Creuset has stated that they were not involved in any consumer giveaways with Swift.
The use of celebrity endorsements in advertising scams goes as far back as when Tom Waits sued Frito-Lay for using his likeness in an ad without his permission. However, with the advancement of artificial intelligence, creating unauthorized digital replicas of real people has become much easier. The recent Le Creuset scam campaign assumedly used a text-to-speech service to generate synthetic voices, as well as lip-syncing programs to overlay them onto existing video footage.
These ads have appeared on Meta’s public Ad Library as well as on TikTok. They promoted fake offers for cookware and duped consumers into paying a small shipping fee but then faced hidden monthly charges without ever receiving any product. The Better Business Bureau has warned consumers of such scams, stating that victims often end up with unexpected charges and no product.
With no federal laws in place addressing A.I. scams, lawmakers have proposed legislation to limit their damage. Currently, nine states have laws regulating A.I.-generated content. Until then, it is likely that people like Taylor Swift will continue to be the subject of A.I. manipulations.