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A bold advertising campaign for a refurbished electronics retailer has promoted itself to Apple’s customers, by taking advantage of AirDrop to show videos on iPhones located in Apple Stores.
The video, titled “Back Market – Hack Market,” claims that it marketed the Back Market store to Apple Store customers browsing iPhones with major outlets in London, Paris, and Berlin. The campaign isn’t one officially sanctioned by Apple, but instead takes advantage of the storefronts and its technology for guerrilla marketing purposes
It is alluded that the campaign created “a bot to AirDrop our messages inside Apple Stores.” To do this, iPhones were allegedly hidden in branded water bottles and placed within range of the storefronts.
Clips are then shown of customers being confused by AirDrop notifications. If opened, the customer is then shown various messages encouraging them to buy refurbished instead of brand new.
While some of the clips of customers seem genuine, three close-up videos shot by influencers are used to show what allegedly appears on the iPhone in question.
The video ends “Thanks Apple for lending us your new devices to promote refurbished.”
While AirDrop is a useful tool, it has also been used for malicious reasons as well. For example, in 2017, users who hadn’t adjusted the discoverability of their device on AirDrop were the targets of people sending inappropriate material in public places, a problem that later caught the attention of lawmakers.
In 2021, a United Airlines Flight was delayed at San Francisco International Airport after multiple passengers received an AirDropped photo of a gun to their devices. It was discovered that a teenage passenger was pulling a prank, but was quickly removed from the plane.