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Calling Out Your Competitors? Think Again!

If you’ve seen the TV ad in which a fight breaks out over a phone, answer this question: what brand is it for? I watched the spot a half dozen times and was convinced it was promoting Samsung and dissing Apple. After all, the bruised dude has an emblazoned Apple logo on his hair chest. Only after deciding to write this blog did I head over to YouTube and grab the official upload of the link to find it’s a commercial by Microsoft! Watch the commercial below:

And, then there’s the lovely print ad promoting Starbucks, but on second look, it’s Gevalia stating how it is preferred over the ubiquitous coffee brewer. Howard Schultz should personally thank Kraft for this effort.

So, here’s the question: does comparative advertising work? Most of the time, my answer is no because these type of ads:

  1. Sell Based Upon Rational Features – Branding is an emotional connection and spitting out facts and figures demotes your brand to a mere name. Touting 3x faster speeds than your competitor, doesn’t build love.

  2. Confuse Your Target –Your prospects view ads passively and it’s easy to get confused as to which brand is really being advertised.

  3. Irritate Your Customer – Big companies picking on little companies is considered mean and inappropriate. Further, in some cultures, it is considered downright rude!

  4. Often Boost Your Competitor’s Share! – Sometimes these ads actually convince viewers of their loyalty to your competitor. And, hearing and seeing their name convinces them about how much they really like Brand X.

I’d love to your hear thoughts in the comments below.

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