Google has found a fun new way to dunk on Apple with an ad campaign for Pixel phones that straddles the line between cute and cringe. The search giant has released five videos — under the campaign name “Best Phones Forever” — which depict sitcom-like interactions between anthropomorphized versions of the Pixel 7 Pro and some sort of iPhone Pro. And it kinda seems like the phones want to bone each other?
Google has pitched this as “what happens when two phones stop being rivals and start being friends,” though the campaign largely focuses on the iPhone’s apparent shortcomings compared to Pixel phones — such as astrophotography, security, and Apple’s lack of foldable devices. The iPhone is basically portrayed as an outdated, inexperienced dumb dumb across all of the videos. It’s a similar riff to Apple’s iconic “Get a Mac” campaign but with phones. And some weird, robotic sexual tension.
Each of the videos follows a similar format. The iPhone and Pixel “characters” take part in various activities together, such as stargazing, watching a sunset, and going to the beach (which may or may not be a date). Then one of two things will happen:
The first is that the iPhone says something lovably stupid to depict its inferiority to Pixel devices (“You know, night sight. With my night light,” it says in “Seeing Stars” after turning on its flash to take better pictures of the night sky) before promptly dying — a nod to long-standing complaints surrounding battery life on older iPhone models. The second is that somber music rolls in and the iPhone starts confessing its jealousy over many of the Pixel 7 Pro’s features. “When I was your age, people were showing me off to their friends,” the iPhone laments in Google’s “Plateau” video. “Astrophotography mode, Call Assist, 30x zoom… you can do so many things I may never be able to.” And then it dies again.
Throughout everything, the iPhone waxes lyrical about how rad it thinks Pixel is, and there are a lot of weird, cutesy “will they, won’t they” moments. The Pixel has to clamber on top of the iPhone to save its life in the beach-themed ad (i.e., the phone activate its Battery Share feature to recharge the iPhone), and at one point, a Pixel Fold replaces the Pixel 7 Pro so that the character can “flash” the iPhone — opening up its brightly lit display like a sexy trench coat.
Poking fun at Apple is a tried and tested method for marketing campaigns at this point. Samsung went heavy on this in the past, seeing particular success with its “Growing Up” ad in 2017. Google’s decision to dunk on the iPhone with chummy, lighthearted teasing also seems to have worked in the search giant’s favor — the reactions to these ads across YouTube, Twitter, and TikTok have been overwhelmingly positive so far. Sure, it’s slightly cringey, but the humor works, and it’s certainly memorable — truly an “enemies to lovers” kinda vibe, though I’m not sure what fanfiction category AO3 would need to file this under.