Zerodha CEO Pokes Fun At Ather’s “Sh*t Marketing But Great Product”

Published on 11 Jul, 2024, 1:02 PM IST
Updated on 11 Jul, 2024, 1:02 PM IST

Chinmay Hadkar
Chinmay Hadkar
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Genuine criticism or a marketing attempt masked behind it?

Co-founder of the stockbroking firm Zerodha, Nikhil Kamath recently purchased the Ather 450 Apex. But instead of praising the product, he put up a rather controversial social media post about his recent purchase. 

Nikil has mentioned in this post “Every one of us has pluses and minuses, Ather has sh*t marketing but great product (sorry Tarun).” Further there are a few more slides to the post where it goes on explaining about the numbers related to EVs sales and stats. The post also mentions the FAME-2 subsidy and the EMPS (Electric Mobility Promotion Scheme). 

This has received a reply from Ather CEO Tarun Mehta with GIFgif stating that “Marketing team be like "isko discount hi de dena chahiye tha."

At first glance, Kamath’s post looks like a negative post against Ather. The first line acts as a hook, relatable to people who think Ather’s prices to be high. But moving deeper into the post one realises that the post has explained a lot about Ather as a brand and how it is growing in the EV market. The post also explains how EVs are better in terms of emissions over the long term. What's even more interesting is the major insight it brings forward: 12,000 charging stations vs. 81,000 petrol pumps. This is why EV makers focus on range anxiety, as Nikhil Kamath mentions. We would also like to add another aspect: charging time, which is much longer than refuelling a vehicle.

Lastly there is also a graph which shows the price vs range comparison of all the major EV manufacturers and their products. Here a comparison of Ather is made with Apple in the EV market. With a higher price the product is claimed to be easy to use. 

The caption expands on his support for the Ather 450 Series, going beyond just the scooter itself. He redefines patriotism for himself as backing young Indian businesses with global potential. Kamath criticises the common preference for established foreign brands, urging a shift towards supporting homegrown products across various industries. Interestingly, he prioritises the quality of the product over marketing. Believing sales hurdles are easier to overcome than product deficiencies, he highlights this as the very reason behind his investment in Ather Energy. 

Holding a significant 5.3% stake in the company, his public ‘criticism’ has sparked debate in the comment section which has led to good publicity for the company. We see it as a strategic marketing move to generate interest for Ather. Perhaps it was simply a friendly jab at a company he believes in. Another interesting angle is the possibility of an indirect endorsement. By praising the product while criticising the marketing, Kamath might be signalling his confidence in Ather itself. 

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