Sabre Thinking

13 Jun / Commercial Competition: Does Big Entertainment Equal Brand Loyalty?

T-Mobile Flash MobIn 2009, T-mobile’s flash-mob commercial was a sensation. After winning the TV commercial of the year accolade at the 2010 British Television Advertising Awards, the commercial remains a testament to the power of viral advertising. It was no surprise when AT&T took a stab at the spot with a similar commercial mocking the original. In fact, commercials that mock or spoof other commercials have spiked consumer interest in one or both of the advertised brands. Conversely, brands that continuously point out each other’s flaws risk driving consumers away from both products completely.

The 2006 “Get a Mac” campaign featured comical actor Justin Long as a representative of a Mac computer, and humorist John Kodgman as a representative of a PC. The campaign successfully demonstrated the cultural differences between both brands, associating Long (Mac) with being progressive and trendy and Kodgman (PC) with being outdated and boring. PC fired back with the “I’m a PC” campaign, categorizing Mac as lacking individuality, with less than desired results.

When it comes to brand vs. brand, it seems like everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. Perhaps inspired by the “Get a Mac” campaign, Dunkin Donuts declares that the average Joe prefers Dunkins’s joe over Starbucks coffee any day. And the king, (that is Burger King) proved he really does have more muscle than Wendy’s with a drive-thru commercial questioning Wendy’s menu choices.

Competition between brands through commercials is undoubtedly beneficial. However, smart advertisers know the difference between friendly competition and unnecessarily risking their brand’s reputation.

Which competitive campaigns do you favor?

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