Chinese tech company Letv is getting a lot of mileage out of a video bashing Apple by parodying Apple's own iconic "1984" Super Bowl ad, all in service of introducing a smartphone called "Le Superphone."
Letv has already been positioning its phone as David to the iPhone's Goliath: Letv CEO Jia Yueting even likened Apple to Hitler in March, then apologized – a stunt that some saw as a cynical way to get the company's name out there.
Letv's video shows a young guy in a hoodie racing through a crowd of zombies in white jumpsuits who are worshipping an apple (an actual apple, a Granny Smith). The young hero outruns his pursuers, snatches the fruit and takes a bite out of it. The text in Chinese reads: "Times are changing, roles have changed, the spirit remains the same. Le Superphone: Breathtakingly beautiful."
Letv is mainly known as an online video platform, and it's a huge stretch to think of its smartphone as China's Apple challenger. That honor belongs to Xiaomi, the world's No. 3 smartphone maker. Letv's real intention is probably to compete with Xiaomi, not Apple -- but that message doesn't play as well in China. The Tech in Asia news site wrote that it's an old strategy for Chinese tech brands to loudly target a big foreign brand while quietly trying to defeat local competitors instead. The approach, C. Custer wrote for the site,
allows Chinese tech companies to get some press attention by connecting themselves with a global brand like Apple, and score some PR points for being a home-grown company with the guts to stand up to foreign juggernauts. But because their attacks on these global brands are so ambitious, nobody takes them all that seriously.
Letv's jabs at Apple may be absurd, but they're probably having the desired effect. On Weibo, the post featuring the Apple parody spot has been shared 1.1 million times in two weeks.