Deepfake tech used to share powerful message for Victoria Police

Deepfake technology used in new campaign aimed at delivering a critical message around mental health and suicide awareness

Pictured: Deepfake technology used of late senior constable, Laurie Fox
Pictured: Deepfake technology used of late senior constable, Laurie Fox

Deepfake technology has been employed for good in a new campaign for the Victorian Police aimed at delivering a critical message around mental health and suicide awareness.

The ‘Beyond the call’ campaign, created in partnership with McCann Melbourne and production company, Exit, uses deepfake technology to bring viewers a live message from the late senior constable, Laurie Fox. The former police officer and father of two suffered from mental health issues triggered by his work and took his own life on New Years Eve in 2012, aged 32.

As well as the tech capability, the campaign employed live action casting used for the shoot, as well as original photos, videos, and archival source material from the senior constable’s life. It was created with the support of his former wife, Belinda Bozykowski, and the Victorian Police Mental Health program office and officially launched on 2 December 2020.  

Its big message is to encourage officers to seek help and support without fear or consequence. The campaign is part of a longer-term partnership and program around mental health and suicide prevention. It was launched via the Victoria Police Bluespace Wellbeing website and Equipt health, wellbeing and sleep app.

“What unites police officers is a desire to do meaningful work and go beyond the call to make a difference to the people around them,” McCann chief strategy officer, Simon McCrudden, commented.

“We worked very closely with senior constable Fox’s wife, Belinda, Victoria Police and secretary of the Police Association of Victoria, Wayne Gatt, to give an officer who tragically left us too early the opportunity to continue making a difference.”

McCann Melbourne creative director, Andrew Woodhead, said the nature of the issue required a new and innovative approach to affect behaviour change. It’s the first time the agency has undertaken a deepfake campaign.

“We knew that if this project was to have any significant impact, we would need to convey our message in a way the audience could not possibly ignore” he said.  

Read CMO’s Explainer: What are deepfakes?

The full video can be found here.

For support or advice following reading this article, please contact:

Lifeline – 13 11 14 / lifeline.org.au

Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467 / suicidecallbackservice.org.au

 

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia.

 

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