Epic Games takes a bite out of Apple

It’s January 1984, and a young, upstart tech company releases an ad for their new product.

It’s more of a short film, really, and it paints a bleak picture of a world monopolised by IBM, the major players in tech at the time. Everything is grey and dystopian, with a Big Brother figure droning on a screen. And then a woman with vibrant blonde hair and bright red running shorts breaks free, smashing the screen and disrupting it all.

“On January 24th,” the ad then reads, “Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like 1984.”

Apple was facing IBM with defiance, challenging their ever-increasing hold on the tech industry. It was defiant, even heavy-handed, but it did its job, going on to be one of the most iconic ads of all time and triggering a meteoric rise for Apple.

Brand wars are nothing new; Apple just did it particularly well in this case. But now, their own content is being used against them.

Last week Epic Games, the developers behind smash-hit video game Fornite, released a new ad. It’s a blatant parody of Apple’s 1984 ad, but now Apple is the big bad monopoly and Epic Games is the revolutionary.

This all started when Epic Games instituted a new policy allowing players to make in-game purchases directly, bypassing Apple and the 30% cut they mandate. Apple retaliated by removing Fortnite from the app store, a move that led them straight in to a legal and PR trap.

Epic Games immediately filed a lawsuit, accusing Apple of anticompetitive behaviour. Right before that, they released their ad.

“This power is ours and ours alone,” a dictator with a giant apple for a head proclaims, before an animated woman carrying a unicorn/sledgehammer weapon destroys the screen.

“Epic Games has defied the App Store Monopoly,” the ad reads. “In retaliation, Apple is blocking Fortnite from a billion devices. Join the fight to stop 2020 from becoming ‘1984’. #FreeFortnite.”

See a side by side comparison of the two videos here.

When Apple first emerged, they were a breath of fresh air in the industry. But times have changed. Epic Games planned their assault well, striking just as Apple was coming under fire for their app policies in Europe.

In the meantime, Epic Games – worth $17 billion – are trying to brand themselves as the underdog. And they have backed up their move with some progressive strides. They recently removed the need for game developers using their Unreal Engine to pay royalties, and offered $100 million in grants to people using the product in novel ways.

In their lawsuit, they explicitly deny they are after favourable treatment or even compensation, and instead request that “fair competition” be afforded to all key markets “that directly affect hundreds of millions of consumers and tens of thousands… of third-party app developers.” The baton (or sledgehammer) has been passed.

Competition between brands is sometimes a tough and unpredictable race, but it can breed great creativity. In a more local example, Australia’s supermarket giants recently did battle with rival promotional products. Coles’ Little Shop reached iconic status fast, with some collectors selling the tiny plastic groceries on eBay for $500. The promotion triggered a dent in Woolworth’s sales, and their retaliation tactic fell flat – their Lion King Ooshies were widely condemned for an overuse of plastic. But their subsequent environmental twist – rewarding shoppers with small seedlings to plant in their gardens – subverted the previous promotions. As the fresh food people, providing kids with the resources to grow fresh food was on brand. While Coles’ campaign was criticised for ‘marketing grooming’ children and enforcing brand loyalty on the impressionable, Woolworths came out of the fight looking wholesome and environmentally responsible.

When brands get creative, cheeky or imaginative, people notice. Spotify has come out in support of Epic Games’ fight against Apple, as has the company Match Group Inc, which owns dating apps like Tinder and Hinge. And the legions of Fortnite fans seem to be happy to join the fight online, with #FreeFortnite trending on Twitter. It was a risky move by Epic, and its still unclear how it is going to play out, but they have certainly grabbed people’s attention. And when it comes to brand wars, attention is everything.


Allergy free dogs?

Spring is coming, the season where dogs aren’t the only sniffers: humans jump on the trend too. While I can happily bury my snout in a bunch of pollen-infested dahlias, doing so for many humans can trigger severe allergic reactions. It can be quite frustrating when you get pulled out of the flowerbed and dragged home amidst a barrage of “AACCHHOOOOS!”

Which got me wondering what it would be like for dogs who trigger allergic reactions in their owners? For a dog, keeping your owner happy is a number one priority. That’s why I make it my mission to offer soothing howls to wake Barbara in the morning and provide her with daily walks.

Dogs can brighten your day; allergies can dampen it. But before you sniffle-prone humans surrender to a life without a furry pal, remember that not all dogs will send you reaching for the antihistamines. In fact, there are some dogs that even the hyper-allergic among you can get along with!

While it must be noted that there’s no such thing as a fully hypoallergenic dog, you can find many breeds are much less problematic than others.

1. Poodles

That’s right, yours truly is hypoallergenic! Our unique coats are non-shedding, despite being irresistibly fluffy. Poodles are also widely crossbred, so our non-shedding tendencies are shared by labradoodles, cavoodles, schnoodles and goldendoodles, just to name a few.

2. Yorkshire Terriers

Colloquially known at Yorkies, these little scruffers are great for allergies because they don’t shed or have much dander. The interesting thing about these guys is they don’t have any fur at all: they have actual hair.

3. Greyhounds

Any dog with a thin coat will be less likely to provoke allergies. Greyhounds’ coats are particularly thin, and they barely shed.

And if you’re still getting sneezy, there are a few extra things you can do to try to ease your symptoms:

  • Bathe your pet once a week, even if they wriggle around and get mad at you!
  • Vacuum as much as you can (a side bonus: cats will hate this)
  • Opt for hard floors that hair won’t cling to

And then sit back and enjoy the spring air with your favourite furry friend.

While we’re not jumping at the idea of going to war with multinational tech companies, we do know a thing or two about attracting attention. 

To learn more, click here.