Production industry pro’s exercised by new Under Armour commercial

The “first Ai-powered sports commercial”, a moody monochrome Under Armour spot starring British boxer Anthony Joshua, has stirred up controversy for its (initially) uncredited use of sections of previous UA ads as raw material.

Director Wes Walker defends the ad, ‘Forever is made now’, saying they made the decision due to commercial and time pressures.

“The future is brands training AI on their products, athletes, aesthetics + repurposing existing footage bases + using Ai to do more with less in less time.

Under Armour asked us to build a film from nothing but existing assets, a 3D model of Anthony Joshua and no athlete access. This piece combines Ai video, Ai photo, 3D CGI, 2D VFX, Motion graphics, 35mm film, digital video and advances in Ai voiceover. Every current Ai tool was explored and pushed to the maximum.

Key in this industry shift is that we stay true to the core of what we’re here to do – tell powerful stories and uplift the human soul with beautiful, provocative and interesting visions…Ai will integrate into our workflows in ever evolving ways … but the heart and the mind that peer behind the veil and doors of perception … is still and will always be ours.”

Wes Walker, Director

Further explanation and justification is provided on the web page for a behind-the-scenes sizzle video that his production company Tool have made for the ad.

What have other people working in commercials production got to say about it?

“If times are shifting, surely it’s the responsibility of creatives to resist changes that allow agencies and brands to steal work from colleagues without appropriate credit…. The use of this technology is inevitable but the application of it, and discourse around it is very much in our hands.”

Rob Webster, cinematographer

“If you’re somebody that shoots for Shutterstock then you know you’re handing over work with the literal purpose behind it being re-use/recyclability. There’s a fundamental difference if you did a commercial three years ago and then it’s kept on a hard drive by a brand just so they can wheel it out and bastardise it whenever they don’t have ‘time or budget’, which let’s be honest, is almost always and will be increasingly so.

“The legality is the legality – corporate worlds will always thrive in the grey area, but there’s a blatant artistic moral coding that’s been overstepped here, and it signifies a pivotal moment. The change is already underway. As artists, now more than ever we must prove our worth and we must be in dialogue.”

Video production company Crowns & Owls

“When you see the original, you begin to understand why this conversation needed to happen already. Why didn’t they just commission the original director again? Why would a new director make an ungodly by most standards day fee to ‘direct’ this? They didn’t need crew, they didn’t need locations, they didn’t need craft… Filmmakers have to stand together as we traverse this new AI landscape. Not turn a blind eye and say ‘but it’s the future!’ ”

Elise Taylor, commercials producer

“Saying no to a client and an agency is the most powerful creative and human tool we can have. Something that no artificial intelligence will ever achieve.”

Ivan Vaccaro, director

For advice, guidance and support concerning the safe, reliable use of AI and machine learning within your creative projects, please get in touch. Your initial points of contact at Mondatum are Colin Birch ( and John Rowe (

Source: TechCrunch