One might argue that competition brings out the best or the worst in someone. It certainly makes for a more creative and exciting ad campaign when two rivals are marketing against each other! We thought it might be fun to look back at some of the more monumental brand rivalries because it’s funny when the Big Guys get catty…
Microsoft vs. Apple
We’ve all seen the ads with Justin Long as ‘a Mac’ and a less-than-cool gent as ‘a PC’. It was a smart and effective campaign for Apple, one that made no excuses for aiming straight for Microsoft’s jugular. Microsoft received some flak for not raising to this public dual and failing to come up with a campaign that jabbed right back. However, a recent commercial for the Microsoft Nokia Lumia phone teased both Apple and Samsung, so it looks like Microsoft is fighting to get back in the game.
McDonald’s vs. Burger King
Ah the age-old dilemma of who to turn to when the junk food craving comes a knocking. It’s a huge decision to make and both companies have no shame when it comes to ensuring that theirs is the burger you’ll be biting into after a two-day bender that has left you feeling less than human. This particular rivalry has been smoking for decades with price wars and brazen taglines such as “the taste that beats McDonald’s.” In fairness to McDonald’s, it does seem that Burger King has been a tad more aggressive over the years with direct jabs to the golden arches. But the recent Twitter scandal which saw Burger King’s account being hacked and their name and avatar changing to that of McDonald’s could prove that Ronald and his crew know how to play dirty from time to time.
Coke vs. Pepsi
These famous frenemies have been at it for even longer than the burger boys. Who would have thought that the war of the sugar-water would span centuries and divide nations?! It really all began with ‘The Pepsi Challenge’, a blind taste test to determine which brand the public really preferred. Over the years Pepsi has continued to poke fun at their rival both in print and TV ads. In 2011, Pepsi released a TV commercial which poked fun at two of Coke’s oldest mascots: the polar bear and Santa Claus. Seemed like a funny concept at the time but I’m sure what Pepsi didn’t plan on was featuring more of their rival’s products in the commercial than their own, proving that being too competitive can sometimes backfire.
Starbucks vs. Dunkin’ Donuts
The epic java saga between these two coffee giants was also spurred on by the classic taste test. This one was pioneered by Dunkin’ back in 2008 and the results were used to create an ad campaign outing Starbucks as the lesser preferred cup-o-joe. In addition to TV and print ads, they temporarily changed the URL for their website to DunkinBeatStarbucks.com and to this day they sell a t-shirt on their website that simply states “Friends don’t let friends drink Starbucks.” Meow.
Facebook vs. Google
The 2011 launch and more recent redesign of Google Plus has put a little pressure on the long-reigning King of social media, especially since the service has flourished to become the number 2 social media network in the world. With Facebook always keeping a healthy lead, you’d think Mr. Zuckerberg wouldn’t be breaking a sweat. Wrong. In 2011 Facebook was busted playing dirty when they hired a prominent PR firm to plant negative stories about Google and their privacy practices. The firm approached a well-known blogger for assistance in their master plan and not only did he decline but he decided that the press should know all about the crafty deed. Although Facebook wasn’t instantly connected to the scandal, it wasn’t long before the rumours started and the bad guy was revealed. Listen up kids: If you’re playing dirty, make sure you don’t get caught!