Apple’s “The Underdogs” was one of the few 3-minute ads you’d not only be willing to sit through, but were also likely to love.
The 2019 spot, which Adweek named one of the best ads of 2019, showed a ragtag team of co-workers racing to design a prototype for a big pitch to a top exec, and the resulting antics were honestly better than most sitcoms.
Today, Apple released a sequel to the popular spot, and as you might imagine, the team is now shown working remote in quarantine like the rest of us office hacks have been doing for the past four months. They’re tasked with creating a new prototype, ominously named Pandora’s Box, and they’re saddled with another tight timeline, a slashed budget and a litany of logistical issues due to being scattered from their colleagues.
The new spot brings back some of the best aspects of “Underdogs”—namely the quirks and clearly defined personalities of each character—while also adding more than a few relatable moments for all who’ve toiled remotely.
The ad clocks in at nearly 7 minutes, putting it soundly in “short film” territory, but it’s definitely worth a watch:
Once again, the ad is promoting the Apple at Work product suite, while also pointing out several often overlooked features built into every iPhone and iPad, such as the Measure app or ability to scan text via the Notes app.
It would be easy for a brand like Apple to show stylish professionals effortlessly using all the productive features of the brand’s hardware and software while sipping espresso from glass mugs, but that wouldn’t exactly be true to reality, would it? In real life, most of us barely know more about what our Apple products can do than The Greatest American Hero knew about his supersuit.
So the ad succeeds through its willingness to embrace a simple fact many marketers would rather ignore: that most people only take the time to learn about product features when they really, urgently need to use them, or when someone else points out they exist.
Apple has not released any agency or production credits for the new spot. “The Underdogs” was produced by Smuggler and directed by Mark Molloy.
Here’s a look back at the original: