[Tech ad-ons] The Underdogs: Two Guys. Two Girls. A Pizza Box
Apple turns on the ad magic again
There is an unwritten law in advertising that you should not venture too far from your core products. And another that says that your ad should never be too long, as ads are an intrusion.
Trust Apple to ignore both. Bloody typical.
The Cupertino based tech giant has created a new ad that along with highlighting a major part of its tech product portfolio, also features an utterly non-tech product that the legendary tech brand patented years ago. Oh and at a time when most brands rarely venture beyond the sixty-second mark, it has gone with a three-minute ad! “Apple at Work— The Underdogs” is a three-minute ad film that features a number of products from the company along with a pizza box.
Yes, you read it right, a pizza box! Intrigued much?
Four Colleagues. Two days. One chance.
The three-minute ad starts with a woman setting out of an elevator with a huge coffee stain on her shirt. What looks like a horrible accident actually gets the woman and her team of four people meeting with a higher executive in their company. But there is a twist: this team of four has to pitch their idea in front of their boss in two days. And from that point, their quest of turning “Round Box” from a sketch to a prototype in just two days starts.
This is when the heroes of the ad start making an appearance on the screen one by one. The ad shows a MacBook Pro, then highlights an iPad Pro with the second generation Apple Pencil and how these devices help this group in research and design. It features an iPhone with which they take pictures of a whiteboard with data and how they just simply AirDrop it to their computer.
It also features an iPad handling an Excel sheet file. Then this dream team cuts up a regular box of pizza and takes it to a factory to get a prototype made. The ad shows how these four people work on their devices (of course, they are all Apple devices) while having lunch, while commuting, and basically round the clock. They FaceTime each other discussing the name for the Round Box. One of them then uses Siri to turn on Do Not Disturb and just like this. day one gets over.
Then comes the second day and it is as hectic as the first one. It begins with getting through the morning rituals, only frantically – snoozing alarms on the iPhone, telling Siri on the Apple Watch to send a message to a team member about being late, etc. As they get to the office, all four members again sit together and get on to their project. They work and work and work on their different Apple devices— A MacBook Pro, iPad Pros, iMac. They AirDrop each other data, get the Prototype and after a long day at work, the team heads home.
Then comes the day of the presentation and the same morning routines (snooze alarms, et al), in the course of which the ad (again) subtly highlights an iPhone XR, iPhone XS and Apple Watch Series 4. The team is all set on, they step in the elevator. The ad ends with “This is Apple at work” text on the screen, followed by the companies logo. The ad features “Nature Fights Back” by Hauschka as the background music.
Three minutes of Apple magic, making stars of shy nerds!
Recently Google reminded us how many of its different services by the brand make our lives easy. “Apple at work— The Underdogs” seems like the Cupertino tech giant’s attempt at the same. And just like Google, we think, Apple hit this ball out of the park as well. To begin with, we absolutely love the plot of this ad. It is about a team of four people who are more or less like those shy, nerdy introverts that do not really shine in a large group but are actually absolute geniuses and can pull enormous tasks off when in their zone. And we all know such people (in case we are not them), so this makes the situation very relatable.
Apple actually has picked up a very mainstream idea and has refreshed it by adding a bit of humor to it. Suppressed, shy people, who one day face a great challenge and triumph and come out on the other side as heroes.
The only problem? Well, we did not get to see them come out on the other side as heroes. That is because this ad comes with an open ending, which we absolutely do not like, simply because it leaves you wanting more. Which is a very rare scenario in advertising. You know that feeling when a season of your favorite show ends and you have to wait for a year to see another season and you sitting there anticipating what is going to happen next? Well, that is exactly where this ad is going to leave you. You are going to be wondering what happened when that team went to their boss with their prototype!
What makes the ad really work is that it is HILARIOUS. There is no one instance which can be pinpointed as the funniest part of the ad but it is the overall hustle and vibe of the ad that makes it so funny, and so relatable, from accidental coffee slips to mothers knocking on doors to kids mucking up presentations by running an Apple Pencil over them – this ad is packed with slices of life, and all of them are designed to bring a gentle smile to your face. Along with a strong, funny plot, the fact that the ad very cleverly and subtly highlights features, software, and products in just three minutes, is extremely impressive. The ad features; MacBook Pros, iPad Pros, second-generation Apple Pencil, iPhone XR, iPhone Xs, Apple Watch Series 4, iMac along with Siri and AirDrop. There must be a few more, but these are the ones we noticed!
And it just does not feature these devices like some add on to the story but puts them in the spotlight. The biggest achievement of this ad according to us is that, even though it comes with a very engaging story, it does not forget to do what is created for— advertise Apple products. And it does it so brilliantly that once you start watching the ad, you will not want to change the channel for the next three minutes. It highlights how powerful an iPad Pro is and how it can be used side by side any computer, even the MacBooks. We especially love the bit where the guy opens an Excel file on the iPad Pro, very cleverly taking it away from the tablet zone and helping it enter the notebook one.
Yes, the ad is lengthy but the three minutes go by so fast when you are watching this ad simply because it is so entertaining. And like most of its ads, Apple has once again picked an apt background track for this one, making the ad even more so engaging.
One of our favorite ads already (sequel please!)
“Apple at work— The underdogs”, is already one of our favorite ads of 2019 so far. The ad has taken a concept which has been done to death (technology enabling people to do great things) but the company gave it a new life, with its clever handling and humor. The three-minute commercial may be a little too long by mainstream ad standards but the fact that the brand has managed to literally highlight most of its product portfolio (and more) in just three minutes is super impressive. The ad has very subtly highlighted how having an Apple ecosystem around you at home and at work, makes even a massive task, doable.
Incidentally, the pizza box featured in the ad is actually a product designed and patented by the company which is used in Apple campus in Cupertino to keep the pizza crust from going soggy when employees take it back to their desk.
Now, make us a sequel, Apple.
You can see the ad here: