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Growing Popularity of Comparative Advertising - What it means to the Customer

In this age of information overload when a new brand is born almost every day, more and more Companies are looking for ways to catch the customerís attention by portraying their brand as a shade better than that of their competitorís product. While some advertisers prefer to talk only about the superiority of their brand in their advertising campaigns, others believe in taking a more direct approach. Advertisers position their products as a shade better by drawing comparisons with the market leader or the competitor's brand.

The aim is to trigger off a shift in the customer's mindset, thereby converting them into loyal customers and increasing sales. Such is the crux of Comparative Advertising. Over the years, comparative advertising has become popular with many marketers and is truly gaining prominence across almost all product genres.

What is Comparative Advertising?

Comparative advertising, also commonly referred to as Combative Advertising Advertising includes all those advertising campaigns that make use of direct, highly blatant and often humorous advertisements. The goal is to establish a direct comparison between two competing brands of the same product range. The guiding force behind such advertising is to project the fact that the advertiserís brand is far more superior and offers greater value for money as compared to the other brand.

A comparative advertisement usually showcases the competition brand in its ad to make a direct comparison.

Examples of Comparative Advertising, over the years:

The comparison war between Pepsi & Coke is one of the best examples of Comparative Advertising. Other brands that have indulged in such blatant & often questioned advertising strategy include Horlicks & Complan, Rin & Tide, as well as Airtel & Reliance TV.

Conflicting Views about Comparative Advertising

 

Different people share different views when it comes to discussing the usefulness and underlying ethics concerning Combative Advertising.

While some believe that comparative advertising can help to showcase just how customers can benefit from switching over from one brand to another in terms of quality delivered and value for money offered, others think that there is no reason why a brand should feature their competitorís brand in their own advertising campaigns.

Despite the conflicting views about whether or not a marketer should indulge in Comparative Advertising, Companies continue to spend time, efforts and their creative juices in devising combative advertisements that not just bring them in the limelight; they also sometimes land them in a tricky legal battle.

Different countries have different laws in place when it comes to comparative advertising.

Customer Relevance:
What Does Comparative Advertising mean to the Consumer?


At the end of the day, all advertising efforts are projected towards one common cause Ė to reach out to the target consumers. Whether or not combative advertising helps the brand is an entirely different issue.

It is important to see how such advertising affects the customerís mindset and their buying behaviour? Often ads that draw direct comparisons between brands are not taken seriously and only remain a means for short-lived entertainment and nothing more. As long as such campaigns act as a stimulus for brands to improve their quality and offer the end customer better value for their money, who am I to complain?

Also read my take on: Can Advertising Alone Make a Brand Successful?

Contributed By:  Akanksha, Advertising graduate and Freelance Writer akanksha.sinha@gmail.com

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