If you use Facebook or Tumblr, you’ve probably seen ads for Episode. It’s a story-telling app that currently sits at #12 in the iTunes chart for games and has been downloaded over ten million times on Google Play. That popularity is not explained at all by its advertising, which frequently centers on pregnant women. The users of Episode are just as flabbergasted as everyone else is.
Being pregnant, wanted or unwanted, is a theme with the ads for Episode. What’s interesting here is that even though choice is emphasized throughout all the ads, and the stories you make with Episode are all based around the choose-your-own-adventure concept, some of these images do not depict what I would term a “choice.”
How happy are these women about being pregnant? You can choose between “happy,” or “really happy.” Thanks Episode! Even if the ads aren’t really doing the best job of demonstrating the strengths of the platform, they do sometimes take an intriguing turn into the bizarre.
I would absolutely play that story—that woman’ girlfriend looks pissed.
The enormous Episode userbase is as confused as everyone else is about the ads—most of the stories on the app are definitely in the vein of soap operas, but still.
And when the fanbase isn’t expressing confusion, they’re pretty pissed that these ads are undermining the app. The most common complaint is that the emphasis on sex in the advertising is flooding the platform with sex stories, and pushing out more ones about well, anything else.
The rest of the internet thinks these ads are hilarious, because they are. In a way, these ads are fulfilling the promise of Episode as a platform for creativity: they’re fodder for excellent jokes.