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French deepfake ad shows true skills of women’s football

French deepfake ad shows true skills of women's football
Source: Video Screenshot

A French advertisement showing football stars Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud making dazzling plays for the national team has gone viral — except it’s all an illusion to promote the Women’s World Cup.

Halfway into the ad broadcast by telecoms giant Orange, the clip shows that the highlights were actually images of the men superimposed on players from the French women’s side.

The goal: to show that footballers such as Sakina Karchaoui, Eugenie Le Sommer or Wendie Renard are just as brilliant as their male peers.

The deepfake has won praise at home and abroad, with England legend Gary Lineker tweeting in French “c’est bon!” (“it’s good!”).

A Time magazine headline says the ad “Shows How Women’s Soccer Can Be Just as Exciting as Men’s”.

An article in the Sydney Morning Herald said the “major plot twist” will “convert even the most cynical who believe women’s football is too slow and boring”.

The nearly two-minute video produced by the ad agency Marcel has generated 100 million views on social media platforms.

“It is said that the most beautiful sport is male sport. … What if we changed our perspective?” Orange’s chief executive, Christel Heydemann, said at the ad’s release late last month.

“Beyond a technical feat, this video forces us to confront our prejudices,” she wrote on LinkedIn.

“I am very proud that Orange is supporting the players and, more broadly, all women, by being a partner of this major event,” said Heydemann, the first woman to head the French telecoms group.

France defender Elisa De Almeida, whose team’s World Cup campaign starts in Sydney on Sunday against Jamaica, said the players were “very happy to see this type of video on social media”.

“We can thank them (Orange) because these are the kinds of things that also make women’s football progress,” she said at a press conference.

The World Cup, which started on Thursday, is being held in Australia and New Zealand until August 20.

About the author


Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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