Ad Nut
Jul 26, 2018

Video game monsters swarm China in this iPhone X ad

It's a GG for Apple in this MOBA-inspired creature feature.

Apple has released a bombastically brutal advert concurrently in the US and China to demonstrate the performative power of the iPhone X’s A11 Bionic Chip.

'Unleash' features CG appearances by enemies from Super Evil Mega Corp’s popular MOBA (Multiplayer online battle arena) video game title, Vainglory.

Set to the alternative beats of Oliver Tree’s “Movement”, the advert shows a young man making a commute in a Chinese city before opening the Vainglory app on his iPhone.

And lo and behold, at that moment the world around dAv11d (sweet username bro) merges with that of the game. Minions, treants, and various other beasties leap out to attack him while the surrounding architecture is overtaken by wild jungle foliage. Now dAv11d has to fight to survive, relying only on his totally sweet martial arts skills!

Look, Ad Nut isn’t going to pretend that getting down with the kids with the, “Wow these graphics are so so lifelike it’s real life” trope in video-game marketing is anything close to groundbreaking. This angle’s been so overused that “eye-rollingly passé” would be an understatement.

But gosh darn it, Apple gets away with it.

Maybe it’s the superb editing, matched with hipster tunes. Or the top-notch fantasy visuals slapped onto a sleek Chinese megatropolis. But somehow this ad manages to dodge Ad Nut’s cynical nerve entirely—exciting the senses whilst projecting its hook loud and clear. And frankly, it’s nice to see smartphone brands embrace the position of legitimate gaming platforms, putting the high-performance specs front and centre as a selling point.

Unleash also sports some well-deserved nerd cred by giving the massive online community a stealthy nod. At the end of the ad, dAv11d is revealed to have been streaming his entire match online, leading to some blink-and-you’ll-miss-it chatscreen cameos by big time streamers BenTimm1, Rumblysuperset, Alvaro845, and nickatnyte. Apple is apparently also being your coolest uncle ever, by giving away a free Vainglory in-game skin for the character Reva.

Ad Nut did make one sly observation however. Though this advert ostensibly takes place in mainland China 2018, dAv11d is shown streaming his game via the YouTube app.

Um...Ad Nut won’t tell Apple why that's problematic if you won’t.

Ad Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. You can also check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame, or read about Ad Nut's strange obsession with 'murderous beasts'.


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