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6 Ads That Directly Poked Fun At Their Competitors

Making fun of the competition is an age-old trick of advertising. The right combination of humor, parody, sarcasm, and silliness is an excellent way to get your name out there and make people take notice. Rival brands have been challenging each other for as long as we can remember through various advertising mediums- from videos and posters to billboards and emails.

But just when we think we’ve seen enough, some or the brand steps up their game brings something new to the table by creating parody ads. So, here we are with 7 brand commercials that directly made fun of their rivals.

1. Budweiser vs. Craft Beer

As a fan of Craft Beer, I’ve seen them grow tremendously over the last decade. Budweiser’s 2015 ad poked fun at the culture of craft beer “snobs”. It’s hilarious and the parody is on spot at times and falls short at others since craft beer is no longer for beardy hipsters only (or maybe that’s just my bias talking).

The ad also points out how the little guys have become big players in the game, thereby, becoming worthy of the big brand’s notice. The message is clear- “Budweiser is the real bear for real Americans.”

The ad reinforces the idea of us vs. them tribalism by making fun of the loyal followers of another brand and patting their own followers on the back.

2. Mercedes-Benz vs. Jaguar

Mercedes-Benz came up with a viral ad campaign in September 2013 to showcase its Intelligent Drive Body Magic Control that ensures optimum driving comfort. The message that they wanted to drive home was-

"What do chickens and Mercedes-Benz have in common? Stability at all times."

About three months later, Jaguar challenged Mercedes-Benz’s chicken ad with their “Jaguar vs. Chicken” ad. While they used a similar concept of a chicken showing its stability throughout the video, they added a small twist at the end by saying-

"Magic Body Control? We prefer cat-like reflexes, don’t you?"

It took Mercedes-Benz hardly 3 days to hit back and come up with a response, which was a simple yet effective poster.

3. Microsoft vs. Google Chrome

Longtime rivals Google and Microsoft are constantly looking for ways to get ahead of one another. Google released an ad titled ‘Chrome: Now Everywhere’ in March 2013 to promote their browser.

A couple of months later, Microsoft came up with an ad campaign titled Scroogled to warn Chrome users about their privacy breach by Google. They also parodied Google Chrome’s ad releasing an ad titled ‘Microsoft Internal Google Chrome Bouncing Ball Now Everywhere’, claiming that Chrome tracks everything they do.

Microsoft’s Scroogled campaign went to the extent of selling merchandise featuring anti-Google messages in mid-November.

Although Google responded with a few witty remarks like "Microsoft’s latest venture comes as no surprise; competition in the wearables space is really heating up.", Microsoft’s Scroogle campaign seemed to have scored a point over Google.

4. Samsung vs. Apple

Two other tech giants that consistently use competitive advertising strategies are Samsung and Apple. Over the last decade, these two rival brands were seen competing for supremacy in the smartphone market.

It all began with Samsung’s ad campaign titled ‘The Next Big Thing’ in late 2011 to promote their new smartphone, Galaxy S II. In the ad, Apple fans waiting in the line for the next iPhone release were ironically checking out the Samsung Galaxy S II of passers-by.

Not only did the ad mock iPhone users with lines like “Why don’t you guys just get 4G phones?” but also featured their larger screens to put the entire iPhone series to shame.

A month later, Samsung again turned on the heat by featuring a poster on their Facebook page. The poster displayed the Galaxy S II alongside a group made up of an iPhone, an obsolete cellphone, and a pair of empty tin cans.

5. Xbox One vs. PlayStation 4

The launch dates of Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4 were less than a week apart in 2013. To promote their latest gaming console, Sony released an ad in mid-November.

Not wanting to fall behind, Microsoft also released their “Invitation” ad to promote Xbox one. Although Microsoft roped in football star Steven Gerrard, Star Trek actor Zachary Quinto, and other stars, Sony’s ad still generated twice the amount of hype on the release day.

However, that didn’t deter Microsoft from releasing a statement on Twitter and claiming that Xbox One has the best games. A week later, PS4 came up with an ad titled "The Declaration of Play. This is #4ThePlayers" on the day of Xbox One’s launch.

If you watch the ad carefully, you’d find obvious references to Xbox with jibes like “refuse to be boxed in” and “jaw-dropping graphics”- which seems like an obvious remark at Xbox One’s 720p issue.

6. Mac vs. PC

All right, we know this is a bit too old, but no list of “best advertising war campaigns” is ever complete without mentioning this classic battle between Mac and PC. It all began in 2006 with the Get a Mac campaign.

The ad showcased short sketches to compare the capabilities of Mac and PC. While PC was portrayed as polite and secure, Mac was more confident and stylish. Microsoft responded with their own ad titled “I am a PC”. The ad featured celebrities, public figures, and ordinary citizens who all chanted “I’m a PC” in different environments.

Apple responded quickly to Microsoft’s “I’m a PC” ad campaign with an ad that showed how the PC was going to spend all of its revenue on advertising rather than doing something to address the inherent problems in Vista.

Wrapping Up

Competitive ads are always a great way of getting your brand out in front of your target customers and showing them how your brand is better than your rivals. The trick, however, is not to go overboard and overdo it as it can cause you more harm. Subtlety, you see, is the key, fellas!


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