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Competitive Advertising and Why It’s Important

There’s a competitive gene in everyone. We all remember those times a family game of mini-golf turned ugly or when the best of three tournament in Mario Kart quickly became an all-night, thumb-numbing affair (we’re looking at you, Rainbow Road). The spirit of competition is alive in almost everything. The most popular shows are always put against each other in polls, and then again against the winner of this same poll from a generation earlier. Some of those shows are even based around people competing with each other, completing the circle. It isn’t much of a surprise that this same drive found a home in marketing and advertisement.

There is a strong argument to be made on the side of this competitive spirit, though. By having an audience to impress and reach the top of the charts of, companies are forced to innovate and improve upon their products with each iteration in order to maintain their spot at the top. As long as there’s competition, there’s variety, the spice of life. As the consumer, that’s always great to have. Plus, as an added bonus, we get the entertainment of watching companies square off against each other through their ads. And there’ve been some great ones.

Ad Wars of the Past and Present

Who else remembers the whole “I’m a Mac.”, “And I’m a PC.” campaign? What’s arguably one of the most popular ad rivalries of all time is also one of the first shots fired between Apple and Microsoft. And entertainment was had by all.

Having started on the laptop and computer front, the pair’s ad battles inevitably moved to phones and tablets. The campaigns were heated, with each side scoring marks along the way. They were possible not only because of each company’s willingness to get their hands dirty, but also because of just how competitive each company’s product truly was.

That, in a nutshell, is why healthy competition is necessary. It motivates corporate and creative alike to push forward with more and more innovative ideas and features. These end up benefitting the consumer while also working towards the ultimate goal of outpacing their competitor with a newer, better product. It’s hard to argue against being on top.

Wendy’s Against the World

If you aren’t versed in the social media antics of Wendy’s, you should be. Trust us, it’s our job to know these things. Wendy’s has taken the idea of competitive advertising to a level all its own, and it’s a thing of beauty. Not only are they promoting themselves and their exclusive offers, but they’re calling out their competitors while they do it.

While all of this is happening, their more standard ads are still being made for television, billboards, and the lot. Not only did they step into the ring swinging, frosties and cup-‘o-chili in hand, but they’ve been so efficient with their strategy that it’s hard to imagine a challenger stepping up to the plate. This makes Wendy’s and their 4-for-4 a double-edged sword as well as a pretty great deal. To be fair, if you haven’t heard of Wendy’s by now, we’d love to know where you’ve been getting your chicken nuggets from.

Rivals at the Cellular Level

With the iPhone recently celebrating its 10th birthday, it’s easy to forget that, despite the opinions of your cousin Janet, there were actually other cellphones that existed before it. To be fair, this might be because Apple’s smartphones changed the game, immediately putting every other cellphone provider on their heels.

It may have taken a bit, but after ten years we can turn on the TV and watch Samsung, Apple, and even Google go at each other in true Royal Rumble fashion. Without companies willing to compete and earn their spot at the table, this industry would have become static. Why innovate when you own the market? Why deprive us all the Shakespearian majesty of the “Can you hear me now?” guy’s ever-shifting loyalties? Why?

The Console Wars

Competitive advertising is no stranger to the videogame industry, either. The phrase ‘console wars’ is an all too familiar part a of a gamer’s vocabulary.

One of the greatest examples of this happened at E3 (Electronics Entertainment Expo) in 2013. On the heels of Microsoft’s initial announcement of the Xbox One essentially trying to stamp out used games on their system, Sony seized the opportunity. They played a ten-second clip of two fan-favorite PlayStation reps acting out how to share a game on the PS4. They simply handed the disc over. Mic drop. Game over. Pack it in, we’ll see you all next year.

Microsoft didn’t pack it in, though, and that’s the beauty of what we’ve been talking about today. They took the blow and have been rebuilding themselves ever since. They’re improving upon what Sony has done because they not only have to catch up, but hope to surpass the current console leader. This means the consumer gets treated to more power, more games, and a better experience.

Competition is essential to innovation. GLAD WORKS understands that successful marketing is about knowing your product, knowing your competition, and understanding exactly what your customers like and don’t like. From there, it comes down to experience and choosing the right tools for us to refine your ads into exactly what the market calls for. While it can provide some entertainment, watching the brands we know and even love go back and forth with each other on the primetime stages of television and social media, it’s always nice to know that the things we love are going to keep getting better. Well, in theory, anyway. We all remember HD DVDs and the Zune, right?