Ultimate Guide to What Comparative Advertising Is

Ultimate Guide to What Comparative Advertising Is

Comparative advertising is a daring method of placing rival businesses against one another, and it has the potential to be a successful approach to attracting attention.

But does it focus on the correct things? Are comparisons an insurmountable obstacle for firms that want to increase their popularity among customers?

To draw some enlightened conclusions, let's examine the benefits as well as the drawbacks of comparative advertising. But before we can do that, we have to figure out what it means.

What Is Comparative Advertising

To put it another way, comparative advertising is simply the process of contrasting two or more different brands. Comparative commercials have one primary objective, which is to convey value. This is often accomplished by demonstrating how one brand is better than a competing brand or other brands in general.

Throughout your life, you have most likely been exposed to comparisons in many forms of advertising. Do you remember the advertisements pitting Mac computers against PCs that began in the early 2000s? The Mac operating system was described as "the cool, calm, and collected man in a hoodie," while the PC was portrayed as "the geeky, uncomfortable guy in a suit."

Pros and Cons of Comparative Advertising

It is a good idea to give some thought to both the possible benefits and drawbacks of comparison advertising. Although it is important to maintain the integrity of your brand, there are times when you should push yourself outside of your comfort zone.

The following factors should be taken into account before you decide whether or not to proceed down that route.


  • Good-Looking Brand: A method for approaching comparative advertising is to use the deficiencies of your competition to your advantage, provided that you also express how you do the task more effectively. For instance, Samsung went all-in on its "Next Big Thing" campaign, deftly highlighting the current phone's advantages over the new (at the time) Apple iPhone, including larger screen size, improved service, and the elimination of lines to wait in.
  • Brand can Boost Awareness: There is no question that advertising that is competitive can get the attention of viewers. Especially if your brand isn't as well-known as the one you're comparing it to and you're trying to get them to buy it anyhow. Utilizing the market share of an established brand that consumers are already acquainted with to attract attention to your brand is a tried-and-true method for comparison advertising.
  • More Traffic (Customers and Followers): Comparisons are only one additional method that may be used to achieve the overarching purpose of advertising, which is, of course, to increase the number of purchases or conversions. Comparative advertisements, when written with care, have the potential to not only reinforce good connections with current consumers but also attract clients of your rivals to consider switching to your business.


  • It Can Look Bad Also: It's possible for comparative advertising to backfire. If the advertisement is negatively received, it may convey the impression that your brand has a terrible reputation or that you are starving for attention. For instance, Bud Light ran an ad campaign that compared itself to its rivals and called attention to the fact that its rivals also used corn syrup in their products. Turns out, it didn't resonate.
  • It can lose the audience too: One of the other potential downsides of using comparisons in advertising is the possibility that it would turn off potential buyers. If the tone of your message is off-putting or offensive, it may encourage your audience to go elsewhere for answers and give up on your product.
  • There might be legal action: The worst-case scenario is that you might be in legal problems because of your advertisements if they go too far. If you are thinking of contrasting your product or service with those of other companies, you should have your legal department go over every aspect before the product is released.

Purpose of Comparative Marketing

Three primary goals may be accomplished by comparative advertising. These include:

  • It considerably raises the perceived level of resemblance between the market leader and the challenger brand. In other words, it gives the impression to the buyer that the challenger brand is a suitable alternative to the leading brand, which is the brand that is often contrasted with
  • It gives a point of reference for the consumers, allowing them to compare the value of the brands that are being compared
  • It does this by determining the one-of-a-kind selling proposition of the brand by employing dependent variables that are connected to perception.

Nowadays, comparative advertising and competitive advertising are often confused with one another. They are comparable but not identical in every respect.

Comparative vs Competitive

One product is promoted to the consumer as being superior to others via the use of comparative advertising. The brand may or might not make an overt reference to the competing party. In either case, the consumer is in a position to readily recognize the competing brand based on characteristics that have been described. It analyses the differences between brands based on characteristics such as quality, elegance, pricing, and target audience.

On the other side, advertising that is competitive places an emphasis on brand development. Instead of contrasting the product with those of competitors, it focuses on how the whole is superior to those of all other companies operating in the market. Comparative advertising transforms into competitive advertising when it is put to use as a tool and combined with reminders and reinforcement.

Both Chick-fil-A and Popeyes are considered to be two of the most successful restaurant businesses in the United States that focus on providing quick food.

Comparative Advertising Examples

Before making a purchase, a consumer has access to several different alternatives to pick from. However, individuals choose the alternative that gives the impression of being superior to others, and most pique their interest. While some companies generate a memorable impression by making humorous jabs at rival companies in their advertisements, others engage in all-out brand warfare. The following are some instances of comparison advertising of both sorts.

Samsung Vs Apple (Android Vs iOS)

It is one of the top smartphone brands in the world, with Apple serving as its main competitor. Samsung often makes fun of Apple in its advertising and social media postings to get consumers to purchase its goods.

Samsung published an advertisement when the Galaxy II was introduced, showing people impatiently awaiting the introduction of a new iPhone. But when they see the Samsung mobile with the 4G network and the amazing screen size, they are brought to a complete halt. Though not mentioned directly, it was clear that the other brand was Apple. Recently, when Apple removed the charging adaptor from the iPhone12, Samsung emphasized that the Galaxy phones came with a charger.

Pepsi Vs Coke (Coca-Cola)

Both of these businesses are always competing against one another for market supremacy in the field of soft drinks, and they have been successful in launching significant advertising campaigns.

In 2013, during the Halloween season, Pepsi aired an advertisement that made fun of Coca-Cola and drew attention to itself. The ad's primary focus was on Pepsi. It seemed like a can of Pepsi was being covered with a scarlet cloak made of Coca-Cola. The advertisement gave the impression that consumers may purchase a Coke, but what they want is a Pepsi. Within a week, this advertisement became quite popular on social media platforms.

In its advertisements, Pepsi often and overtly criticizes its competitors, which may result in the networks refusing to air the commercials in their entirety. One advertisement depicted a little boy attempting to reach for a can of Pepsi by balancing himself on top of two cans of Coca-Cola. Because of the damage that this does to Coca-reputation, Cola's advertising campaign has been banned across all channels.

Wendy’s Vs McD’s (Mcdonald’s)

These two restaurants are part of some of the most successful and widespread fast-food businesses in the United States. Wendy's is known for its habit of publicly criticizing its rivals on social media platforms like Twitter.

In contrast to McDonald's, which is renowned for using frozen meat while producing burgers, Wendy's is recognized for using fresh beef. Because of this, Wendy's used every opportunity to poke fun at its competitor. It made use of a meme to poke fun at the Big Mac in an overt manner while referring to the film Avengers: Infinity War.

Adidas Vs Nike

Adidas, a German multinational sportswear firm, is the only significant brand of athletic gear that has succeeded in competing with Nike. What was their strategy? They ventured into competitive marketing and quickly produced a video advertisement that featured an athlete wearing Nike sneakers while running across a desert environment.

Runners are well known that it is difficult to compete in races on such surfaces. The fact that the cameraman was able to keep up with the runner even though he was carrying a cumbersome camera was an astonishing aspect of the footage. The cameraman was wearing Adidas sneakers.

Kroger Vs Publix

Kroger, the world's largest supermarket chain, made waves at the end of 2020 when the company debuted at the no. 9 slot on the list of the top eCommerce firms based on sales. The use of comparison newspaper advertising against their primary rival, Publix, was the key element that led to their success.

The advertisement included two recipes that were the same duration but had significantly different prices. Kroger targeted the audience by emphasizing that they give lower-priced portions to improve savings and other bonuses that consumers cannot find at Publix.

This was done to differentiate themselves from their competitors. That resulted in an unexpected increase in their sales, which led to the situation in which 60 million out of a total of 120 million homes in the United States buy products from Kroger.

Casper Vs Sealy

Casper, which is considered to be one of the industry's pioneers and now has a market value of about one billion dollars, emerged as one of the top internet mattresses in 2014. Its immediate rival, Sealy, employed comparative advertising by arguing that its competition is only a competitor in markets where consumers purchase items for the name-brand hype.

This was done to differentiate itself from Sealy's other customers. They placed a sponsored advertisement for Casper on SERPs with the heading "Don't buy the hype, shop Cocoon, and save hundreds." This allowed them to target the demographic that was interested in Casper.

When a potential customer clicks on the advertisement, they are informed that Sealy sells comfortable mattresses at reasonable prices, all of which contribute to a restful night's sleep. Sealy was able to increase its market value and become a trusted brand in the mattress sector with the support of comparison advertising.

Sprint Vs Verizon

In 2016, a representative from Sprint, a rival of Verizon in the telecommunications industry, contacted an actor and persuaded him to switch to Sprint to participate in comparative advertising. In the interest of marketing and promotion, Sprint highlighted an actor who had spent the previous 16 years working for Verizon. They addressed the audience by stating that if a dedicated Verizon actor can move to Sprint, then why couldn't you do the same thing?

What is it that is preventing you from adjusting? The wireless service provider said that their mobile phone coverage varies from one area to another by a certain percentage. This declaration put Sprint in a position to compete with Verizon on a more equal footing than before.

After reviewing the comparison advertisements of the aforementioned companies, it is essential to comprehend and include the term "comparative" into one's vocabulary.

If you want to go the route of comparison advertising, be sure not to make any statements that are untrue or deceptive since they might hurt your marketing efforts. Understanding and favorably adopting comparative marketing techniques may spare a company from legal trouble, even though many nations are opposed to the practice.

In the End

Comparative advertising offers several benefits to companies, including the enhancement of brand recognition and reputation, as well as an increase in sales or expansion of the consumer base. The potential impact, such as a decrease in reputation or clients, is just as crucial as the actual consequence. To achieve success with comparison advertising, you need to take a methodical approach, craft your content with care, and – this one seems to always help — inject some comedy into your writing.

Latest Articles

Back to top