Comparative advertising: Outshining your competitors

Evon Lim

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.

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