For a given brand, a villain is another, competing/alternative brand that presents a series of problems – not just for the given brand’s own business, but also for the given brand’s end users or customers.
For example, for 1990s Apple, a competing brand, Windows, presented a series problems to both Apple and to a segment of Apple’s users and customers. Apple named Microsoft/Windows as its villain publicly in various advertising campaigns.
Sometimes a brand doesn’t name its villain or does so obliquely, as in the example the Roam notetaking app calling out Evernote as its villain by using the medium of “testimonial”.
Related post https://www.artofmessage.xyz/p/villain-strategy