Did We Go Too Far With Our “EazyBI Is A Dinosaur” Ad?

Time to explain ourselves. Our new ad, EazyBI vs Custom Charts: Hire or Fire, went out on our YouTube and social media channels yesterday. It’s been a controversial project in-house since inception, but we believe we put it out with good reason. Here’s the story behind it.

The precedent: when you’re only No. 2, you make dog jokes

There’s a long and fun history of the second-place business in a category going after the market leader.

The “Get a Mac” campaign from Apple featured a man in casual clothes representing a Mac, and a man in a suit representing a Microsoft Windows PC. In a series of vignettes, the Mac is portrayed as user-friendly and intuitive and the PC as old-fashioned and error-prone.

Pepsi went after Coca-Cola with the Pepsi Challenge, a marketing campaign based on blind taste tests which said that more Americans preferred the taste of Pepsi over Coke.

And Avis got one up on Hertz by using their number 2 status as a way of sneakily touting their brand’s customer service. Their tagline went: When you’re only No. 2, you try harder.

We have always positioned our reporting app, Custom Charts for Jira, relative to EazyBI. EazyBI has been the dominant market leader for 10 years and at one point every Atlassian consultant used it.

So, just like Avis, we decided to embrace our status as the underDOG.


The provocation: “You’re a small yapping dog”

At Atlassian Team ‘22, during the after-party organized by our partner Adaptavist, I had something of an awkward encounter. I approached someone from EazyBI, in my usual friendly manner, and this person responded:

“Don’t come over here smiling at me. We’re not your friends. I’ve heard what you say about our app and how difficult it is to use. You’re like a small yapping dog.”

Not gonna lie; we have compared Custom Charts to EazyBI in a variety of marketing materials. But in all that content we’ve acknowledged that we’ll never beat EazyBI on complexity of features and options. It’s a big data business intelligence suite that lets you do almost anything, as long as you can write code. When you can’t, that’s when EazyBI becomes a prohibitively steep learning curve. It’s an excavator-mounted hydraulic jackhammer when all you need is a screwdriver.

Just like Pepsi focused on what really matters to cola drinkers – taste, we focus on what really matters to the vast majority of Jira users – ease of use.

To avoid becoming EazyBI, every time we work on a new feature for Custom Charts, we spend half the time ensuring that it’s easy and intuitive to use.

In our past marketing efforts, we’ve often stressed that organizations should have both EazyBI and Custom Charts. Then the big data nerds can play with their power tools while everyone else gets to make simple charts quickly for their weekly stand-up with their line manager.

However, we’ve been working really hard on changing how we process data in the back end and are about to release some very powerful features. That way, for organizations who only want one reporting app, Custom Charts can do most of what they need.

Because of that, it was time for David to start slinging rocks at Goliath, and EazyBI’s “yapping dog” comment seeded the idea for the kind of rocks we should throw.

Chris Cooke CEO Old Street Solutions

Chris founded three successful startups in Thailand: one was a Scuba Diving School/ Eco-Tourism company dedicated to saving turtles. Once he’d saved enough turtles, he moved back to the UK to pursue his dreams in software.

It was while working for the Atlassian Platinum Solution Partner Clearvision that Chris met Jacek. The two decided there was a gap in the market for easier-to-use Atlassian tools for Jira and Confluence users who don’t have a clue how to code (of which there are many).

“If we’re not making mistakes, we’re not trying hard enough.”