ITC released an ad for its juice brand B-Natural that targeted its rivalry, Tropicana and Real. The brand invited its competitors to join them in abandoning concentrates and making juices only from fruits. ‘Will the competition join us, be there to see.’

PepsiCo filed a suit against the ad campaign #saynotoconcentrate and the campaign had to alter its positioning. ITC’s B-Natural, however, isn’t the first brand to target its competition in their ads. Reputed brands have been known to time and again go on the offense. Here are some of the most famous brand wars we’ve seen over the years:

1. Pepsi vs Coca-Cola

Pepsi, known for their snide attacks on Coca-Cola released this ad a few years ago. The play seems to be on Count Dracula’s cape and how when Pepsi sports a Coca-Cola cape, they transform into something scary. Notice that the spelling of Coca-Cola on the cape is wrong, spelled instead as ‘Cola-Coca’ so as to avoid legal ramifications. Another popular but banned advertisement of Pepsi’s (view here) had a young boy use Coca-Cola cans as a stepping stone, quite literally, to obtain a can of Pepsi.

 

 

 

2. Samsung vs Apple

 

Samsung’s dig on Apple phones is quite cleverly portrayed in this ad. By juxtaposing the two brands, it highlights (according to Samsung) how Apple is high-maintenance and less worthwhile than Samsung. The journey of the protagonist in the ad starts with his purchase of the first generation iPhone in 2007 that over the years he has to keep replacing with their next model. They mention the storage deficient, delicate nature of the iPhone and show how the protagonist seems to be jealous of his Samsung-user girlfriend. Titled, ‘Growing Up’ the protagonist through the years uses iPhone but eventually shifts to the better phone- Samsung. However, notice that the name iPhone or Apple hasn’t been mentioned anywhere.

3. Burger King vs McDonald’s

 

After the release of the movie ‘It’, a lonely red balloon floating around the neighborhood is enough to terrify most people. The traumatizing villain so happens to be a clown. Let’s see, which popular fast food brand do we know that has a clown as a mascot?

Boo!
Boo!

 

Burger King uses McDonald’s mascot, Ronald’s clown costume as part of their brand bashing. While the name of McDonald’s isn’t mentioned, the brand colors are more than enough to give it away. Burger King offered a free whopper to customers that came dressed as clowns. By using the trending movie ‘It’ as well as having the main clown dressed in McDonald’s colors, it seems like they killed two birds with one stone.

4. Times of India vs The Hindu
Brand Bashing between Times of India and The Hindu
Brand Bashing between Times of India and The Hindu

Times of India (TOI) released an ad that asked Chennai newspapers to wake up. The response The Hindu gave was to mock the quality of the articles you’d find in TOI with the famous comeback ‘Stay Ahead of the Times’. You can view both TVCs here.

The Fine Line

Competitive advertising can be used to create a distinction between your brand and the competition. Given the number of brands present in each niche, the importance of this is evident. It’s a fine line though between highlighting why you’re the better option and unprofessionalism.

While competitive advertising certainly has an edge, in that it can highlight why your brand over others, it can also be tricky. Brands have to ensure that they avoid legal ramifications while advertising what makes their brand better.

However, it’s hard to deny the thrill of a good brand battle. Not only does it entertain consumers but it also garners attention. What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

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