Branding Speaker, Trainer, and Coach

Calling Out Your Competitors? Think Again!

Competitors Video

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.

  1. I agree with Liz on all the points she stated. These kinds of advertisements to me are like the negative, back biting, and pointing fingers and quite frankly remind me of political campaign ads we all hate -just say what you can do to better someone’s life or situation and keep it all positive if the consumers are not comparing on their own and made a poor choice. I chuck that up to “LESSON LEARNED” for the consumer. I think companies should stop the pissing contests and in a positive approach directly say what you do and do not do. Enough small print, enough talk real fast in your disclaimers just spit out the TRUTH!

    • AND, in the phone world, it seems as if comparisons are everywhere, but I really don’t understand or care!

  2. Love this! When I give training to our corporate clients about their presentations to Purchasing departments, I always caution them to not talk about nor diss their competitors during the meeting. Not only do they now give their competition some air time, but they may make themselves look bad if the purchasing director happens to like that other company.

  3. I agree. It’s important to know your competitors, but not necessarily to create a comparative grid.

  4. Re: Nokia Wedding Fight Ad-
    Here’s why I think it works well- this is the “uncola” strategy of “REPOSITIONING THE COMPETITION.” Rather than a small upstart entering an already crowded field why not amalgamate the competition and turn it into an us-against-them.
    The ad powerfully draws the viewer’s full attention into the action/comedy to discover the two horse race between the familiar giants, Apple/iPhone vs. Samsung/Android is passé. The choice going forward, the future, is between the new vs. the old. And the new is the Nokia Lumina Microsoft Windows Phone, “Smartphone of the year.”
    Yes, the ad is confusing, it disses its competitors, but it’s memorable. It opens the door to a new choice.

  5. Ooooh, I like your take on it, but is it important that we recognize that Microsoft powers the Nokia phone? If so, again, I didn’t get that.

    But, if this ad breaks through the clutter, it is good; if it just confuses us, it’s bad.

  6. Liz –

    I’d love to attend your June 12th event however, it’s my hubby’s birthday and we have a special day planned.

    Please let me know about your next event!


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