Apples to boAts comparison: What went right and wrong with boAt's ad jab at Apple?

Aman Gupta's boAt took a shot at Apple that got netizens riled up. Experts share their hot take.

By  Aashrey BaligaApr 1, 2024 6:32 PM
Apples to boAts comparison: What went right and wrong with boAt's ad jab at Apple?
Why is this ad by boAt receiving so much criticism? Find out.

Mac vs PC, Pepsi vs Coca-Cola, Google vs Yahoo vs Bing, McDonald’s vs Burger King, Zomato vs Swiggy and now boAt vs Apple, Anyone? BoAt, which is the second largest audio brand in the world today as the company states, took a shot at Apple in its latest ad. The ad, it seems, has got more flak than praise on the internet. Conceptualised by Tanmay Bhat, Devaiah Bopanna and the rest of the team at a firm called Moonshot, the ad is combative in nature. It takes a dig at one of the world’s most valuable companies - Apple.

Netizens believe this ad to be a shabby, distasteful David vs Goliath tale that the creators didn’t give much thought to. Goliath in this case, seems to have all the support, which leaves poor old David with no one in his corner?

The ad got people talking, and if that was its purpose, it has served it on a silver platter, say ad industry veterans who have seen their fair share of ad battles. Everyone is now, be it for good measure or not, comparing boAt with Apple. However, at what cost?

The thing is, Indian advertising has always loved a David vs Goliath story. This is because, it involves an emotional narrative that appeals to us Indians, says an advertising executive who has worked on combative ads for challenger brands.

Then why is this ad by boAt receiving so much criticism?

David vs Goliath is all well and good but when you go up against Goliath, you better make sure you have enough power in your slingshot. That’s where netizens believe boAt failed.

Ad experts offer a more nuanced take on the ad.

“The boAt vs Apple ad is combative for sure. But then, all pieces of advertising which are in a competitive space are combative. Some overtly and some covertly, and some in a subversive manner. This ad is all about being the covert and the subversive. I think it brings to attention both the brands - the dominant brand and the dominant non-brand. To an extent boAt is also saying that it’s not a brand. It’s an option and I think that to an extent puts boAt on a back foot,” said branding expert Harish Bijoor.

The real question here was if boAt’s intention behind the campaign was to convert ‘fanboys’ into boAtheads. If that was the case, then yes, the criticism is rightly directed. But what was the intention? Is it a classic case of brand messaging gone wrong?

Communications strategy consultant Karthik Srinivasan in a blog post said, “The boAt campaign is not targeting Apple at all. Yes, there are some feature-based claims (better bass, better active noise cancellation, and better battery life) in the print ad. But these are hardly the reason why someone would choose, or not choose, Apple earpods. In fact, even a hardcore Apple fanboy could try a new pair of boAt Airdopes Supreme, each, every month for one full year for the price of a new pair of the 3rd Generation Apple EarPods.”

“That’s the key here, in boAt’s campaign. boAt absolutely knows that its products and Apple’s products do not compete at all. They belong to vastly different worlds, and both are perfectly valid worlds that are adequately useful to those respective buyer segments. And yet, knowing all this, if boAt still seemingly fired a salvo at Apple, there has to be a reason, right? But that reason is NOT to try to convert Apple fans, or even those merely considering Apple’s audio products to try boAt. boAt itself knows that it competes with brands like Boult, Noise, and the many similar brands that exist on a similar price range,” he added.

Let’s understand one thing. Apple has created an ecosystem through its products. That is a remarkable feat. People love Apple because of the ease of use and how it simply links up with all other Apple products to help create a seamless everyday use case. BoAt understands this. There is absolutely no comparison to the Apple ecosystem. But no matter how much one might drool over the company’s products, we Indians will always unite to let the world know how unnecessarily expensive they are. The ‘value for money’ debate is one we have always struggled with when it comes to Apple.

“The ad was simplistic. Not too great copy and design wise. Looked like a hurried job. Depends on the objective though, if it was to create short term nuisance or noise, it was successful. But if the objective was to convert any Apple users into the Boat fold. It would fail, as it presents no RTB. (Reason to believe),” said Abhishek Asthana, founder of GingerMonkey.

Srinivasan pointed out, when a beehive is poked, the Queen Bee remains absolutely unbothered but the worker bees, who have sworn allegiance to the Queen will create chaos.

First Published on Apr 1, 2024 5:22 PM

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