We catch up with a few experts on the effort.
When it comes to phones and features, Google has a less expensive option with a better outcome... affordable and better than the iPhone at least. That's also what's communicated in a recent series of ads for Google's latest flagship smartphone, the Pixel 3a. We just spotted a LinkedIn post by communications consultant Karthik Srinivasan, showcasing the internet giant taking a dig at the 'i' brand.
The digital ads place two images side-by-side – one shot on the Pixel 3a and one 'not shot on the Pixel 3a'. The former definitely looks better in terms of quality and is Google branded while the latter is not as good and accommodates a cheeky - Image shot on iPhone Xs - message.
ArvindMaharajan, a Chennai-based marketer, seems unsure what this will lead to. He commented on Srinivasan’s LinkedIn postsaying, “It gives us a good laugh but especially in the case of Bajaj Hathi Math Palo ads..people ended up talking about RE more than Pulsar...”
According to Maharajan, Google, in this case, is almost indirectly hinting that Apple is its main threat or competitor when it comes to business. He also points out how the trend somehow finds its way into advertising time and again citing examples of Pepsi vs Coke ,followed by Royal Enfield vs Bajaj.
Srinivasan shares that Google had started the comparison way back in January and people have been talking about it since then:
The template, Srinivasan adds, has always been similar - side-by-side comparisons between a phone on the left (iPhone X or 'Their phone' or 'Not shot on') and the Pixel 3a on the right. "The fine print clearly calls out the iPhone XS. The feature highlighted is 'Night Sight' that promises quite a magical photo quality in low-light situations," he informs, with respect to the current ads.
He further states that from Google's pov, it makes perfect sense to highlight the one thing that the Pixel range is really well known for - camera quality. "Pitting it against the best and most well-known phone camera (one that even advertises with entire billboards featuring a photo taken by the device), makes even more sense. That bold stand would make people take a serious look at the Pixel 3a to at least satisfy the 'Seriously? That good?' claim. Beyond that initial curiosity though, people would get down to comparing the brass-tacks of the phone - battery life, processor speed, smoothness of day-to-day operation and so on. When it comes to those nuances (which matter a lot to many people), there are far more rivals to choose from - OnePlus, Xiaomi, OPPO, Vivo etc.," Srinivasan explains.
However, he maintains, "As an opening salvo and hook, the bold comparison tactic works in evoking the right amount of reaction from audiences and rides on the Pixel range's already well-known camera quality."
Naresh Gupta, managing partner and chief strategy officer, Bang in the Middle, says, that only someone who has grown up in the 70s will call it the 'cola wars' (which someone pointed out in the LinkedIn Post above). "The cell phones have been at it for many years now. The consumer spends far more on a handset than on a cola and the fight for a share of wallet is brutal and will only get worse. Colas have actually buried their fight; they are now doing their own thing. The real fight is now with handsets and as a consumer, I am loving it," he shares his take.
Gupta also feels that there is just one factor that plays an overwhelming role in brand choice and that is the camera. "The iPhone is built on the ability of its camera. Multiple consumer reviews suggest that the Pixel has a better camera than the iPhone. With the Pixel 3a running in fits and start and not able to find its feet, the only way it can gain eyeballs is by building on its ability to take pictures, so it will do what it has done," he signs off.