Google pokes fun at Apple’s iPhone in latest Pixel ads

The social campaign takes a tongue-in-cheek approach, not only showing off Google Pixel’s latest features but also throwing shade at the brand’s main competitor

The classic battle between Mac vs PCs has been reimagined, this time in the form of Google’s Pixel 7 Pro (and Pixel Fold) as they go head to head with Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro in Google’s new social campaign. The series of five films envisions a world where “the two best phones in the world” are friends, as we see them discuss their different compatibilities.

Whether they’re looking out onto a starry night, having a day at the beach, or hanging out at a restaurant, the two phones hash out classic phone-based issues such as poor battery life, photo quality and the threat of hackers. As the Pixel continually demonstrates how it overcomes these problems though, Google cheekily suggests that Apple has stopped any kind of innovation when it comes to the iPhone.

Created in-house by Google Creative Lab, the campaign was launched at this year’s Cannes Lions during a talk with Robert Wong, VP of Google Creative Lab and James Manyika, Google’s SVP for research, technology and society. Wong spoke about how he and his team have been using AI tools developed by Google Research in their work, specifically an experimental AI reply tool they are piloting as part of this campaign.

The idea is that draft replies will be generated in response to YouTube user comments left underneath the Best Phones Forever spots. “A human community manager evaluates, selects and edits the best options – all of which are generated in the friendly voice of the campaign,” explains Manyika via a blog post.

To build the AI reply tool, the team asked social writers to provide a high quality set of example replies to comments that they expected from viewers on YouTube. They used these human-created comments and replies as a dataset to help prompt Google’s Large Language Model, PaLM 2, using Google’s prompt engineering tool, MakerSuite.

This isn’t the first time Google has done some Apple-bashing; last year saw multiple calls for Apple to get rid of the differing blue and green bubbles over messaging when people text between iPhones and Android. One campaign saw Google create a website called Get the Message, which urged people to call out Apple for “broken group chats” and demand that the company fix texting as “these problems exist because Apple refuses to adopt modern texting standards.”

Agency: Google Creative Lab