Comparative advertising is a risky strategy that pits competing companies against one another, and it has the potential to be an effective technique of garnering attention.
But does it concentrate on the right issues? Are comparisons a challenge too great for businesses hoping to win over customers’ favor?
Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of comparative advertising to get to some wise conclusions. However, we must first determine what it implies before we can proceed.
Comparative advertising: Definition
Comparative advertising is simply the process of contrasting two or more distinct brands, to put it another way. The basic goal of comparative advertisements is to communicate value. This is frequently done by showcasing how one brand is superior to other brands or other brands in general.
You have probably encountered comparisons in many different types of advertising throughout your life. Do you recall the early 2000s TV commercials that compared Mac with PC computers? According to one description, the Mac operating system is “the cool, calm, and collected man in a hoodie,” while the PC is “the geeky, uncomfortable guy in a suit.”
Comparative advertising: Advantages and Disadvantages
It is a good idea to consider both the potential advantages and disadvantages of comparison advertising. Even while it’s crucial to protect your brand’s identity, there are instances when you need step outside of your comfort zone.
Before deciding whether or not to adopt that path, you should consider the following factors.
- Good-Looking Brand: One strategy for comparative advertising is to capitalize on the flaws of your rivals, provided you also explain how you accomplish the work more successfully. For instance, Samsung fully committed to its “Next Big Thing” marketing campaign, skillfully stressing the benefits of the current phone over the brand-new (at the time) Apple iPhone, including a larger screen size, better service, and the absence of waiting in lines.
- Brand may Increase Awareness: There is no doubt that competitive advertising can catch viewers’ attention. Particularly if you’re trying to convince people to buy your product despite the fact that your brand isn’t as well-known as the one you’re comparing it to. A tried-and-true technique for comparison advertising is to use the market share of an established brand that customers are already familiar with to draw attention to your brand.
- More visitors (clients and followers): Comparisons are only one more tool that can be employed to accomplish advertising’s main goal, which is obviously to raise the number of sales or conversions. When carefully crafted, comparative adverts have the power to both strengthen relationships with current customers and persuade customers of your competitors to consider moving to your company.
- It could be ugly. Additionally, comparative advertising has the potential to backfire. If the commercial is poorly received, it could give the idea that your company is desperate for attention or that your brand has a bad reputation. For example, Bud Light sponsored an advertisement campaign that contrasted itself with its competitors and highlighted the fact that those competitors also used corn syrup in their goods. It seems that it had no resonance.
- It may also turn off the audience: The ability to turn off potential customers is one of the other drawbacks of using comparisons in advertising. Your audience may look elsewhere for information and stop buying your product if the tone of your message is unpleasant or off-putting.
- There could be a court case: The worst-case situation is that, if your advertisements go too far, you can end up in legal trouble. Have your legal department review every detail before the product is introduced if you plan to compare it to similar offerings from competing businesses.
Why Comparative Marketing Is Used
Comparative advertising can accomplish three main objectives. These consist of:
- It significantly increases how similar the market leader and challenger brands are regarded to be. To put it another way, it offers the consumer the perception that the challenger brand is a viable substitute for the leading brand, which is the brand that is frequently pitted against.
- It provides consumers with a point of reference so they can assess the relative worth of the brands they are comparing.
- It accomplishes this by identifying the brand’s unique selling proposition by using dependent variables with a connection to perception.
- Comparative and competitive advertising are terms that are sometimes used interchangeably today. They are similar, but not exactly the same in every way.
Contrasting with Competitive
Through the use of comparative advertising, one product is sold to the consumer as being superior to another. The brand may or may not make a direct allusion to the rival company. In either scenario, the consumer is in a position to quickly identify the competitor brand based on the described features. It examines the variations across brands based on attributes like elegance, quality, pricing, and target market.
On the other hand, advertising that is aggressive emphasizes brand building. It emphasizes how the entire is superior to those of all other companies operating in the market, rather than comparing the product to those of rivals. When used as a tool and supplemented with reminders and reinforcement, comparative advertising becomes competitive advertising.
In the United States, Popeyes and Chick-fil-A are regarded as running two of the most prosperous quick-service restaurant chains.
Examples of Comparative Advertising
The consumer has a variety of options to choose from before making a purchase. However, people tend to favor the option that appears to be superior to others and that also piques their curiosity. Others engage in full-scale brand warfare, while some businesses make an impression by making amusing barbs at competitors in their commercials. Here are a few examples of both types of comparison advertising.
Apple vs. Samsung (Android vs. iOS)
It is one of the most well-known smartphone manufacturers, with Apple as its major rival. In order to get customers to buy its products, Samsung frequently mocks Apple in its advertising and social media posts.
When the Galaxy II was released, Samsung released an advertising that featured individuals eagerly anticipating the release of a new iPhone. However, they come to a complete stop when they notice the Samsung smartphone with the 4G network and the incredible screen size. It was obvious that the other brand was Apple even if it wasn’t stated explicitly. Samsung underlined that the Galaxy phones came with a charger when Apple recently announced that the iPhone12 will no longer include a charging adaptor.
Coke vs. Pepsi (Coca-Cola)
Both of these companies have been successful in establishing substantial advertising efforts in their ongoing battle for market dominance in the soft drink industry.
In 2013, Pepsi ran an advertising during the Halloween season that poked fun at Coca-Cola and promoted itself. Pepsi was the main subject of the advertisement. It appeared as though a cobalt-colored robe was being draped over a Pepsi can. The commercial presented the impression that while customers might buy a Coke, what they really want is a Pepsi. This campaign gained a lot of traction on social media within a week.
Pepsi frequently and openly criticizes its rivals in its adverts, which may cause networks to decline airing the full commercials. In one commercial, a little boy was shown trying to reach for a Pepsi can while perched on two Coca-Cola cans. Cola’s advertising campaign has been prohibited across all platforms due to the harm it causes to the company’s reputation.
comparing Wendy’s with McDonald’s
These two eateries are a part of some of the most well-known and prosperous fast-food chains in the country. Wendy’s is renowned for its practice of openly disparaging its competitors on social media sites like Twitter.
Wendy’s is noted for using fresh beef, as opposed to McDonald’s, which is known for using frozen meat while making burgers. Because of this, Wendy’s made fun of its rival at every chance. It made reference to the movie Avengers: Infinity War and used a meme to openly mock the Big Mac.
Nike vs. Adidas
The only big athletic apparel manufacturer that has been able to successfully compete with Nike is Adidas, a German multinational sportswear company. What tactics did they employ? They entered the field of competitive marketing and swiftly created a video ad that showed a sportsperson running over a desert while donning Nike footwear.
It is commonly recognized among runners that competing in events on these surfaces is challenging. An amazing feature of the clip was how the cameraman, who was carrying a heavy camera, was still able to keep up with the runner. Adidas sneakers were being worn by the cameraman.
Publix vs. Kroger
The largest grocery chain in the world, Kroger, made headlines at the end of 2020 when it debuted at position nine on the list of the top eCommerce companies based on sales. The main factor in their success was the employment of comparison newspaper advertising against their main rival, Publix.
The two meals featured in the commercial had the same preparation time but were priced very differently. By highlighting their lower-priced portions to increase savings and other benefits that customers cannot obtain at Publix, Kroger specifically targeted their demographic.
This was done in order to set them apart from their rivals. As a result, their sales unexpectedly increased, and as a result, 60 million American homes out of a total of 120 million now purchase goods from Kroger.
Sealy vs. Casper
In 2014, Casper, one of the market’s pioneers and currently with a market value of around $1 billion, became one of the top online mattresses. Sealy, the company it immediately competed with, used comparative advertising to claim that its rivals only exist in countries where people buy products because of the name-brand marketing hype.
To set itself apart from Sealy’s other clients, this was done. On SERPs, they posted a sponsored Casper ad with the slogan “Don’t buy the hype, shop Cocoon, and save hundreds.” They were able to target the group of people who were curious about Casper thanks to this.
A potential consumer who clicks on the advertisement is informed that Sealy offers supportive mattresses at affordable costs, all of which help to promote a good night’s sleep. With the aid of comparison marketing, Sealy was able to grow its brand recognition and market value in the mattress industry.
Verizon vs. Sprint
An actor was convinced to transfer to Sprint in 2016 by a representative of Sprint, a Verizon rival in the telecommunications sector, in order to take part in comparative advertising. Sprint highlighted an actor who had previously spent 16 years working for Verizon in the interest of marketing and promotion. They asked the audience, “Why couldn’t you do the same thing if a dedicated Verizon actor can move to Sprint?”
What is keeping you from adjusting, exactly? The wireless service provider claimed that there is a specific percentage difference in their mobile phone coverage from one place to another. With the announcement, Sprint was in a better position than before to compete with Verizon on an equal basis.
It is crucial to comprehend and add the word “comparative” to one’s vocabulary after reading the comparison adverts of the aforementioned organizations.
If you decide to use comparison advertising, be careful not to make any false or misleading claims because they could harm your marketing efforts. Even though many countries are against the practice, understanding and favorably using comparison marketing methods may save a business from facing legal issues.
Companies can gain from comparative advertising in a number of ways, such as improved brand recognition and reputation, more revenue, or a larger customer base. As important as the actual outcome is the potential impact, such as a loss of clients or reputation. Take a logical approach, carefully construct your material, and — this one seems to always help — sprinkle some humor into your writing if you want to succeed with comparison advertising.