Short List
Product/ServiceLAYS CRISPS
Category C02. Data Storytelling
Production UNIT9 London, UNITED KINGDOM
Name Company Position
Luke Purcell PepsiCo Marketing
Adam Warner PepsiCo Marketing
Kalle Hellzen 180 Amsterdam Creative
Marloes van den Berg 180 Amsterdam Production
Joe Craig 180 Amsterdam Creative
Ed Ryder 180 Amsterdam Creative
Jake Butler 180 Amsterdam art director
Jessica Gunn 180 Amsterdam Creative
Max Hurford 180 Amsterdam account management
Suzanne Whittaker 180 Amsterdam account management
Colin Pueschner 180 Amsterdam Production
Sarah Gough 180 Amsterdam Business
James Kibbey Unit 9 direction
Stephan Bischof Unit 9 Creative
Neal Bryant Unit 9 production
Harry Starkey-Midha Unit 9 production
Sophie Keyse Unit 9 production
Corneliu Ilisescu Synthesia media production
Yoan Petrov Synthesia Media Production
Jonathan Starck Synthesia Media Production
Martin Kingston Audio Archive sound Design

Describe the creative idea

Imagine getting a personal invitation from legend Lionel Messi to watch the big Champions League game with your friend? Where he said your name? You wouldn’t dream of turning down the greatest-ever footballer, would you? Introducing Messi Messages, the future of football invitations: a marvellously unexpected twist on the boring old text message. Messi Messages is a deepfake-powered experience allowing fans from all over the world to generate their own personalised video messages from the legendary football star, spoken flawlessly in their own language – perfect to wow their WhatsApp groups. It’s use of deepfakes for good – using the AI-technique to transform our very limited production-time with Messi into an almost limitless store of content, helping football fans deeply connect, all over the world. Maybe Messi can’t be in two places at once, but Messi Messages shows he can be in hundreds of thousands of places at once.

Describe the execution

Using an intuitive chat-based interface on our microsite, users could communicate with a digital version of Messi and provide key information to fill him in on their plans for watching the match. Seconds later, the footballer appears with a personal invitation to watch the game, referencing them by name and including their submitted dates and places. With ten different language options to choose from, users can generate an almost limitless store of bespoke invitations to share with friends from all over the world on social media and messaging apps. We got Messi in the studio for a quick shoot to capture basic phrases and simple movements. We then recorded over 8000 names with voiceover talent in different languages, adjusted in post to sound like Messi. The rest is all deepfake. Layering AI with deep machine learning models, we generated a representation of Messi's face, ensuring the voiceover audio could be matched to his mouth movements and look as authentic as possible, allowing us to generate video messages from Messi that were carefully tailored to each user. We chose a Cameo-style format for the messages to create an intimate feel, with Messi holding his camera up selfie-style to speak directly to the user. By leveraging deepfake technology, we were able to enhance creativity, help Lay’s get the most out of their sponsorship deal with Messi, and most importantly open up a personal dialogue between the brand and their customers.The project pushed technological boundaries to create a remote brand experience with huge global shareability that really connects with consumers on a deeper level. The microsite is available to both mobile and desktop users - combined with the range of language options, this makes the experience inclusive and accessible to sports fans from all over the world. The production timeline was 20 weeks.