Epic’s Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite jibe at Apple and other creative ads of the week

Competitive advertising has been an effective strategy for many brands., particularly so when consumers see two equals or a ‘worthy competitor’ take on a category giant. Some of the examples and legendary campaigns include rivalries between Coke & Pepsi, The Hindu and TOI in Chennai, iPhone vs Samsung (fueling the flame wars) and Mac vs PC. A few ad campaigns become so popular that they are spoofed by brands in other categories. Apple’s iconic ad, ‘1984‘, aired once during Super Bowl is now being mocked by Epic Games, maker o Fortnite, a popular game app. This and other creative ads are part of my collection for week ending Aug 14, 2020.

Fortnite: Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite

Mobile game and app developers have to pay a fee of 30% to Apple for in-app purchases on the iOS platform. It has been an issue with many developers as they argue that the revenue share is high. Some app & game makers have tried to circumvent the system and reach out to end-consumers directly – violating the App Store rules. The popular mobile-game, Fortnite was removed from the App Store when it offered a direct payment method, bypassing the in-app purchasing system of Apple. The maker of the game, Epic Games then took Apple to court. Without getting into the merits of the case in this forum, it appears that Epic Games had a planned marketing campaign around the event. Firstly, the lawsuit was filed within an hour of the app being evoked. So expulsion was expected and the moves were already planned Epic. As part of the response, an ad spoofing Apple’s famous ‘1984’ ad was released. It paints Apple as the new ‘Big Brother’ and garnered a lot of media attention.

To me, more than the creative itself the strategy to appeal to the right audience mattered. The ad’s context is unlikely to resonate very much with a younger audience who can be expected to be the end-consumers of the game. The ad is likely to appeal more to the senior journalists and opinion makers in the business & tech domains, as is apparent in the coverage the whole issue is getting. By the way, Epic has taken Google to court too after the game was pulled from Play Store too, but that’s hardly getting any media attention.

Deutsche Telekom: what we do next

The audience likely to be hooked on to Fortnite is the target for this ad from Deutsche Telekom, featuring Billie Eilish’s voice over. The attempt to dispel the myth that Gen Z is mindlessly hooked on to their phone screens and always zoned out (‘not in the moment’ as the VO says). The ad goes on to show how that generation is using they are using technology to get involved in things they are about – cyber security, climate change and human rights. The ad ticks the right boxes as research after research indicates that the younger audience like to be associated with brands that take a stand on issues & causes that impact the world.

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi

Sony Bravia: Ice Melody

I wonder such execution-driven ads would be presented as concept or story-boarded. A visually compelling film for Sony Bravia takes forward the product feature of ‘screen that is a speaker’.

Agency: Innocean



Lifebuoy: Bish Bash Bosh

An outdoor campaign from Lifebuoy in the UK reminds users to sanitize their hands. What’s interesting for me was the medium of choice – outdoors in tube stations and the memory hook of ‘bish bash bosh’ to make it a ritual of sorts.

Agency: MullenLowe

Thatchers Cider: family

The advantage of family-owned brands especially those with their names on it and in a sector were personal care & attention is important have an advantage over mass-produced brands. They can lay claim to quality thanks to the personal involvement. A new ad for Thatchers Cider in the UK presses all the right buttons about family to drive home this point.

Agency: McCann

Schindler: pronunciations

I am guessing here the client brief – Schindler India in this case, was to make the brand name familiar, as many may find the German name hard to pronounce. French companies have this problem of mispronunciation too as witnessed by Publicis, Dassault Rafale and Dom Pérignon to name a few. A compelling social media post driven by an influencer in the business & startups domain. BTW, I apologised to my daughter about ‘poem’.

Agency: Ginger Monkey

Snickers: First Visitors

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a new category of ads – either exhorting people to maintain social distance, stay home, wear a mask or simply stay strong. Many have captured the changed lifestyle of the times – either in terms of attending video calls or sharing household chores. A new ad for Snickers brings in humour to highlight the pitfalls of living a virtual life. While it brings a smile and is relatable I am puzzled about the brand dropping the highly successful ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry‘ platform. ‘Confused? You just need a Snickers’ is not a clear solution to the ‘in-between meal hunger pangs’ solution which the brand was addressing.

Agency: BBDO

Which one was your favourite? Comment in.