Did you ever take “The Pepsi Challenge”? Have you seen the Mac Guy vs. PC Guy commercials? Chances are at some point you’ve seen some form of comparative advertising that could more accurately be called a “Brand Smackdown”. Not unlike two brands entering an ultimate fighting ring, comparative advertising has become an all-out battle among some of the world’s top brands.
In the news of late has been the Dunkin’ Donuts vs. Starbucks taste test ads where Dunkin’ Donuts tells consumers that more “hard-working” people prefer their coffee than the high-priced Starbucks, “elitist” coffee. Rumor has it, Time Warner is preparing to launch a comparative advertising campaign against Verizon.
And now, Campbells is attacking Progresso with ads telling consumers that more Progresso soups contain MSG than Campbells soups do. Progresso is responding with its own attack and its own Progresson Taste Challenge. Check out the 3-frame ad I found on Yahoo! this morning inviting consumers to take the Progresso vs. Campbells taste test:
I’ve always been against mentioning your competitor in advertising. I simply don’t want to give them any free publicity. However, there certainly are examples in advertising history where comparative advertising can work for the brand with lower market share. Apple is the prime example of that. By creating a series of commercials that cite clear differentiators between the Mac and Windows products, Apple was able to successfully take a small bite out of the leader’s market share. Of course, those ads aren’t the only thing Apple has been doing right. Apple is a great example of a successful relationship branding strategy at work, but that’s another story entirely.
What do you think? Will attack advertising help the Dunkin’ Donuts and Campbells brands or hurt them?
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