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Good and Bad PR: YouTube Journalists win against WhatsApp Uncles, Apple Targets India with Tamil Rap music

Credit: Shoebahmed Shaikh

We’re back after campaigning duties. Er... a summer break, really. There are plenty of brand bouquets and brickbats to analyse. Will the ‘Abki Baar 400 Paar’ campaign make it to the Bad PR list?

Bad PR

BJP scolded by its' fountainhead RSS

 When even super boss Mohan Bhagwat agrees that 'ahankara' is not good, then we know the message the voters sent in this election has struck home. It's grim if you must make crutches of the two fickle straws (the extra 2ab from Andhra and Bihar) in active politics today. There's hope this nation can now move beyond all the 'M' words sprinkled throughout the campaign. 'Mpty' vessels... Shall we even mention the Exit Polls?

Good PR

YouTube journos vs WhatsApp Uncles 

If the 2014 and 2019 elections belonged to your neighbourhood WhatsApp uncles and their chronic forwarding of the latest conspiracy theory, 2024 was driven by the independent YouTube commentators and journos who did everything from myth-busting, explainer videos on key issues and on-ground reportage

 Even as TV media and exit polls rolled over with their one-sided narrative, it was the independent YouTube journos, who kept up the flag of reporting. Even as pollsters shed tears after the results (in reality on national TV! Not figuratively!), the independents could not help some quiet crowing over the results.

Bad PR

Narayana Educational Institutions

Remember when we called out the deadly competitive examination ecosystem a few editions ago? It's like the Hydra and keeps bobbing its ugly head up occasionally. Narayana "Educational Institutions" (we must rethink that definition) showcased the same boy (catchy name Matcha Balaaditya), securing the 1st and 11th rank in the latest IITJEE examination results in a sprawling front-page advert that purports to yell in the ears of parents—PICK ME—if you want your child to be successful! 

What ya, maccha? No proofreading, no quality control. This is very symptomatic of the frothy greed to shout from the rooftops that we are number 1. 

There is even talk that two rival coaching institutes have claimed one of the top rankers' achievements for themselves. Maybe one taught him the LHS, the other the RHS. Hence, proven - anyone who willfully commits themselves or their child to this madness adds to the vicious circle of lost potential.

Good PR

Apple India goes hyperlocal with Tamil rap 

We weren't convinced when we first saw the latest Macbook ad in a campaign titled Work is Worth It (a play on 'Work is Worship'?). The anxiety-causing visuals, fast cuts and frenetic pace set to the (admittedly awesome) beats of Anish's 170CM Tamil rap are obviously aimed at the student demographic. Not a market leader in the Student PC category; it may be time to make a more focused push. 

Student life in India can be chaotic - assignments, research, projects, and design are all packed into months that fly by in the blink of an eye. But then we peel back the layers and notice the attention to detail in the previous two campaigns (remember the iPhone surviving the death wish autorickshaw ride?), and their messaging foray into the Indian market is going hyperlocal. 

Not so long ago, Tim Cook stood outside the first official store in Mumbai like a proud Indian father welcoming guests to his child's wedding. Cultural immersion is tricky - a lazier effort on another day could have chosen a Gully Boy avatar of the same campaign. And if there's anything the Indian public loves, it is the Western counterpart dressing, talking and walking like us. Until it comes time to pay for those damn machines.

The fact that they have a half-decent student pricing program makes up for it in this category. After all, students shouldn't have to part with a kidney so early in their fledgling careers. 

Next, could you open up the YouTube comments, Apple India? Always good to engage in dialogue with the audience.

Shoeb is the chief innovation officer at Ideosphere Consulting. He loves helping brands and business leaders articulate their value better.

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