The Super Bowl is prime time for the most creative ads. Today, one that has gone viral on social media is a 30-second ad by Illumination, the studio behind blockbuster franchise animation Despicable Me.
Why so? The ad — which is a teaser trailer for the fourth instalment of the franchise, Despicable Me 4 — appears to be a mockery of AI and the ‘art’ it generates.
Despicable Me 4 Teaser
The ad begins with the prompt “comic royalty” being entered into a blank text space, with the narration: “Artificial intelligence is changing the way we see the world — showing us what we never thought possible.”
The scene that follows is an AI-generated image of two court jesters. But upon closer inspection, the faces of the jesters depicted are Steve Carrell and Will Ferrell.
Subsequent scenes that follow are AI-generated images that contain amusing and absurd errors. Like this second scene that depicts two women attempting a yoga pose with a total of five legs between them.
… and this handshake where one hand has over eight fingers.
The ad ends with a zoomed out scene and two minions giggling in front of a computer. “With artificial intelligence, the future is in good hands,” the voiceover said.
On social media, reactions to Illumination’s ad have been overwhelmingly positive. As the animation industry continues its tussle against the use of generative AI with productions like Loki and Fallout being accused of using AI art, many users applauded what they viewed as Illumination’s stance against AI.
“Using the dumbest m***s [minions] alive to depict who makes AI art has to be one of the smartest & best goodwill ideas Illuminations ever had LOL,” wrote a Twitch streamer.
Others also pointed out Illumination CEO, Chris Meledandri’s past criticisms against AI.
“I genuinely can’t believe that one of the biggest animation companies atm that has both consistently not succumbed to and have even mocked dumb and harmful trends in the industry is f***ing illumination,” commented another user on X.
Despicable Me 4 will be in theatres July 4 in the US.