Heard of comparative advertising?

What’s better than claiming your product is the best? Claiming that it’s better than your competitor’s, of course! That’s the idea behind comparative advertising, a marketing tactic that directly pits brands against each other. By highlighting differences and declaring superiority, companies hope to capture the attention and loyalty of consumers. A study by the University of California found that comparative advertising can be an effective tool for new brands entering a market. The study found that comparative advertising helped new brands increase their market share by over 5%. When a brand is launching new product or entering new market, they will use comparative advertising. By directly comparing their product to a competitor’s, companies can position themselves as the superior choice in the eyes of consumers.

Advantages of comparative advertising

One of the main benefits is that it helps in brand differentiation. By highlighting the unique features of a product in comparison to others in the market, stronger brand identity is created. This can lead to brand awareness and your brand will be like a neon sign in a sea of monotony — impossible to miss. Besides, it can help to enhance credibility. Back up claims about a product’s quality or superiority with direct comparisons to competitors. Your competitors will quake in fear at your undeniable superiority.

Did you know that comparative advertising isn’t just to promote your brand, but it’s also a great way to promote healthy competition? By highlighting the advantages, you’re not only differentiating yourself from the pack, but also inspire your competitors to step up their game. Comparative advertising also empowers consumers with valuable information to make purchase decisions. By directly comparing products, consumers can evaluate the features, benefits, and pricing of each option. It also gives them a better understanding of which product best suits their needs. When you highlight the superiority of your brand, you’ll be swaying consumers towards making a purchase from your brand instead of your competitors. It’s like a Jedi mind trick, but for marketing.

Real-life examples of comparative advertising


Last year Halloween, BMW poke fun at Mercedes-Benz. In their tweet, they shared an image of a Mercedes-Benz sports car dressed up in a BMW costume, implying that every Mercedes wants to be a BMW. The tweet quickly went viral, racking up tens of thousands of retweets and likes. What made this tweet effective was the way BMW used humour to assert themselves as the superior brand while keeping things light-hearted. Taking a cue from BMW, brands can use comparative advertising to stand out while engaging their audience through humour approach.


Remember when the ending of Avengers: Infinity War was the talk of the town? Well, Wendy’s social media team decided to hop on the meme bandwagon with a hilarious tweet. The meme featured the iconic scene where Thanos turns half of the living creatures into dust, but with a twist: a McDonald’s Big Mac also turns to dust. What really made the meme stand out was the caption: “[That feeling when] your beef’s still frozen.” – Wendy’s never uses frozen beef, while McDonald’s is known for their frozen patties. It’s a clever way to claim superiority without being too aggressive or insulting. And it’s clear that it worked – the tweet went viral and had people talking about Wendy’s commitment of using fresh but not frozen beef.


Have you ever been stuck in a never-ending line waiting for the latest iPhone to drop? If so, this Samsung Galaxy II ad will speak right to your soul. As die-hard Apple fans suddenly confronted by a group of Samsung users. Bunch of  regular folks who are already enjoying the latest smartphone sensation: the Samsung Galaxy II. The Galaxy II users extol the virtues of its massive screen and lightning-fast 4G speeds. Then, the Apple devotees begin to realise that there might just be a better option out there. By the end of the 60-second ad, it’s clear that Samsung has earned their respect with a simple, yet powerful message: “The next big thing is already here.”

While comparative advertising can be an effective marketing strategy, it also comes with some potential risks. Here’s why:

Comparative advertising carries the risk of negative consequences for your brand. If the ad is poorly received, it can harm your brand’s reputation or give the impression that you are seeking attention at any cost. For example, Bud Light initiated a comparative campaign against its competitors highlighting their utilization of corn syrup. However, the campaign failed to gain traction and did not resonate with the intended audience

While comparative advertising can be a tempting strategy, it can actually end up giving a boost to your competition. If you’re a well-known brand comparing your products to a lesser-known one, you run the risk of coming across as a bully and damaging your own reputation. Furthermore, your comparative ad may end up introducing customers to your competitors and making them more aware of their brand. This could end up undermining your own market position and hurting your business in the long run.

Comparative advertising can have legal implications for your brand. If your ads cross legal boundaries, it could result in legal actions being taken against your brand. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that your legal team thoroughly reviews the campaign before launch.

Comparative advertising can be a powerful tool. However, to reap these benefits, it’s crucial to execute it effectively and ethically. If you don’t play by the rules, it can backfire and damage your reputation, drive customers away, and hurt your bottom line.

Football fanatic or not, you probably would’ve heard the name Cristiano Ronaldo at one point or another. With partnerships with brands like Nike, DAZN and UFL under his name, Ronaldo has graced countless billboards, Instagram feeds and marketing campaigns. Despite his success on the field, most of his earnings comes not from his football career, but from how he turned his football status into a personal brand. Ronaldo’s brand – CR7 – is valued at $8,000,000, one of the highest in the world. You’ve heard of him, now it’s time to learn from him. Get your branding level to Ronaldo’s.

Its Origins

Ronaldo has long been wearing the number 7. It might as well be patented to his brand. He started wearing the number 7 when he first began at Manchester United as Alex Ferguson’s protégé. He continued to wear it even as he played internationally, and soon ‘7’ became synonymous with Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo was not the first, or only, player to wear the number 7. Yet ‘7’ remains an incredibly powerful symbol, representing Ronaldo’s skill and success on the field. It elicits images of his signature moments as a footballer, and will continue too even after he retires. Its power as a branding tool ultimately rests in its messaging, and is a reason for the rapid growth of CR7.  The brand had initially been limited to a line of underwear, but this quickly grew with Ronaldo’s fame and career.

Simplicity is the main ingredient to CR7’s enviable levels of growth. Just like the Nike Swoosh, CR7’s use of iconography is simple and distinct. As such, it immediately brings Ronaldo and his football success to mind. When it comes to creating such a distinct personal brand, the best icons and logos often stem from the perfect balance of distinctiveness and simplicity. It is distinct enough to hook the attention of first-time buyers, while simple enough to be subsequently remembered.

Today, CR7 spans a perfume, a museum (Museu CR7 in his birth place Funchal, Madeira) and a chain of hotels under the Pestana Hotel Group.


When People Think Of Football, They Think Of Ronaldo

Of course, even with well-thought out iconography, other brands are unable to achieve the same levels of success as Ronaldo. This is largely due to Ronaldo’s consistent image and the result of years of dedication to his personal brand. Even a non-football fan would know that Ronaldo is a football legend, and would probably be the first person they name if asked to name a football player. Such level of name-icon recall is what brands – whether personal or commercial – aspire toward.

Why CR7, And Why Ronaldo?

Firstly, Ronaldo’s consistency and self-assuredness make his brand one that people can trust. Ronaldo not only believes that his skills are top of the line, but also confirms this with his performance on the field. Because of this, people are confident in his work and by extension, in his brand.

Secondly, Ronaldo is someone who is relatable. He uses his wealth and fame to not only endorse products and build a business, but also engages in philanthropy. Beyond that, he shows that he has a life outside the pitch and billboard advertisements. Through social media, he shares with people his family and social life, and this makes him relatable. He is someone to aspire toward, but this aspiration is still attainable, because he has facets of his life similar to his fans.

However, it’s also important to temper this relatability with having a unique edge that is a differentiating factor from other competing brands. Ronaldo’s ability to diversify his endorsements attract a range of interest, and hence continuously build interest in his brand – whether this is from customers or other brands interested in collaboration.

Mutually Beneficial Branding

Evidently, the support of other companies boost Ronaldo’s brand. However, such collaborations are two-way. Other brands similarly need Ronaldo’s support for their own success.. Why companies seek Ronaldo’s seal of approval is because his branding consistently affects the preferences of consumers. In 2021, Ronaldo had articles written about him about 60,000 times, accumulating over 21 million engagements on social media.

The sheer volume of publicity about Ronaldo makes it incredibly valuable for companies to endorse him. It’s no wonder that Ronaldo is among one of the most endorsed athletes. Most notably, he was the third athlete to land a $1 billion lifetime deal with Nike. Ronaldo’s ability to harness social media has also aided in this. With his 470 million followers on Instagram that only continues to grow, campaigns he posts about generate high levels of engagement from his fans. Ronaldo’s leverage over social media is an extension of his branding and his image. Even on his less popular channels, user engagement levels continue to be impressively high. As of 2021, his Facebook page boasted over 293 million engagements.

Not All Publicity Is Good Publicity

In the same vein, Ronaldo can also use his platform to negatively affect companies. Notably, his removal of two Coca-Cola bottles from a table at a press conference in 2020 led to thousands of articles written. And for Coca-Cola, it resulted in a $4 billion drop in market value.

Such selectivity in endorsements also contributes to Ronaldo’s overall brand. The strength of his brand is reinforced by collaboration with companies and campaigns that are aligned with his images and values.

It is no wonder that both companies and individuals looking to grow their consumer base and brand identity aspire to reach Ronaldo’s level. While it’s no easy feat, it’s definitely not impossible.

At the end of the day, Ronaldo’s famous CR7 is a result of intentional and consistent messaging strategies. This comes in the form of using distinct yet simple iconography, incorporating values of consistency, relatability and differentiability. And in an age where everyone is online, being able to leverage social media to elevate engagement and interaction is crucial to remain relevant.