Discussion: Naming the competition

Okay, so this isn’t about books, but it is about words and how things are written, which is good enough, right? 🙂

In the last couple months there’s been an ad campaign war of sorts between two major Canadian companies. Both are claiming to offer a service for less than the competitor, and both are clearly targeting the other. The difference is in how.

When I first saw this ad, and the TV ads that go with it, I thought it was kind of cute. The reference to the competitor is quite sly (the competitor’s logo is blue).

A couple weeks later, these ads started showing up, and my jaw dropped. Calling out the competition by name! Really classy. 😛

Companies calling out their competition is nothing new–I grew up with Duracell vs. Energizer commercials. But to me, how it’s done has a pretty big effect on how I feel about the ad. And ads that go out of their way to name their competition… just seems like poor taste to me. I’m actually less likely to buy a product or service if I see a company turning to those sort of tactics.

(Actually, I could see this coming up with book promotion, too… To me there’s a pretty big difference between saying something like, “No sparkly vampires here!” and something like, “My book is way better than Twilight!”)

What about the rest of you? Does it bother you when a company (or whatever) targets another in their promotional efforts? If it’s subtle? Overt? Or do you figure anything goes in advertising?

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