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Behind the Fortnite '1984' Apple parody that's got the ad world talking

Adage India 2020-08-15 01:17:16

Talk about an epic move.

The "1984" parody spot Fortnite creator Epic Games created has got the ad world buzzing about its craft and its sheer gutsiness. Even so, no agency has stepped up to claim it. Epic so far could not be reached for confirmation, but one person close to the matter says the spot was created in-house.

In the unlikely case you missed it, the ad is a response to an antitrust lawsuit over access to the App Store and Apple’s 30 percent cut of monies made there. On Thursday, Apple dropped Fortnite from the platform, and Epic responded with a shot-for-shot spoof of the tech giant's breakthrough "1984" ad using Fortnite avatars rather than actors.

Epic turns the tables of the original spot, portraying Apple as the Big Brother levying monopolistic control over a brainwashed populace, rather than the insurgent who smashes barriers. It’s a positioning meant to tap into the public’s suspicion of Big Tech, which has been implicated in issues ranging from data privacy to election interference.

“This piece is really brave. I think it’s completely in line with the game’s feisty nature, and frankly I think their fan base is going to love it, as they’re probably hoping and praying,” says Jason Sperling, senior VP and chief, creative development at RPA, who was a creative director on another iconic Apple campaign, “Get a Mac,” at TBWA\Chiat\Day.

“You’ve got to love challenger brands that don’t mind being in the crosshairs of big corporations, and who are either so naive or so impossibly fearless that they’re willing to go to whatever lengths to create impact. Even if it means fighting the ultimate challenger brand from the '80s with the weapons that they themselves fashioned to perfection.”

High praise has come from others in the industry, too. "Honestly, this is one of the great advertising/marketing/strategy moments of the last 20 years, tweeted Ian Schafer, founder of Deep Focus, now co-Founder and CEO of Kindred.