WhatsApp’s Modern Family ad fires shots at iMessage and RCS

Apple confirmed last week what we’ve been expecting: iOS 18 will bring RCS support to the iPhone this year, finally ending the blue vs. green chat bubble drama. In fact, some iOS 18 beta 1 users enabled an early version of RCS that is working on the iPhone right now. RCS on iPhone will not be similar to Google’s version of RCS, as Apple will support the carrier standard instead.

I’ve been telling you for years that a texting app like WhatsApp is a better alternative for cross-platform messaging. I’m a longtime iPhone user who has never had to deal with the color of bubbles. I rely on WhatsApp and other chat apps to talk to family and friends using Android devices.

But I’ll never be able to drive that point home as brilliantly and succinctly as Meta just did, with the help of four Modern Family characters who briefly reprised their roles to tell a short story about group chats in which WhatsApp would be the clear winner.

The commercial works well even if you haven’t watched Modern Family yet. But it’ll make even more sense if you’re a fan of the highly acclaimed ABC sitcom.

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We have Phil (Ty Burrell), Claire (Julie Bowen), Cam (Eric Stonestreet), and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) all talking about photos that Haley (Sarah Hyland) sent. Only, Mitchell didn’t see them because he’s not on the new group chat they all made. He’s the only Android user among them, which is why they didn’t include him in the group.

Of course, Phil reveals the secret group chat, and Claire explains why Mitchell is not in it. The blurry photos and weird likes are to blame. Anyone in group chats that include iPhone and Android users will understand the pain everyone’s feeling in the ad.

That’s when an unnamed character, a stand-in for Meta, informs the group that they can switch to WhatsApp for their group chats. “WhatsApp is seamless and private,” the painter tells them.

It’s a happy end, as Mitchell is finally in the new WhatsApp group and is able to see and share anything he wants with the family.

This is possibly one of the best commercials ever for a Meta product. The company mocks the current state of iPhone-to-Android chats and Apple for not supporting RCS until now. It’s also an attack on both Apple and Google now that iOS 18 will add support for RCS texting to the iPhone. Some people might leave WhatsApp now that iPhone-to-Android group chats are about to improve.

I also can’t help but notice how “Meta” that painter is in this Meta commercial. He listens to a private conversation, collects that data, and then serves related information while promoting a product or service based on that private data.

I’m not denying that WhatsApp is secure, as the chat app is end-to-end encrypted like iMessage and Google’s version of RCS. And I’m not saying that Meta is listening in on your private chats anywhere else. Just that Meta collects a lot of user data from most of the Meta apps people use.

Messaging aside, I just loved seeing some of the Modern Family cast reunited, if only briefly. While I contemplate a rewatch, you can check out Meta’s WhatsApp commercial below. If you still haven’t seen the sitcom, you can catch it over on Disney Plus.


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