Population Control and Attacking Your Competitors
A new campaign from Panasonic Battery Corporation urges people to neuter their bunnies. Aside from population control, the obvious target of this campaign is Panasonic's main competitor and industry leader, Energizer.
Attacking your main rival is commonplace for marketers, but often puts them in a position of inferiority. Miller attacks Bud Light all the time, but except for a few instances, Budweiser rarely fires back because they are the industry leader and don't need to resort to "name calling." Budwesier clearly leads the industry with 50 percent of the beer market, while Miller has only 18 percent. So attacking the 500-pound gorilla in the market only compunds your inferior position.
One of these incidents stemmed from Miller's "President of Beers" campaign, which attacked Budweiser's Clydesdales. According a friend of mine in Bud's marketing department, the spots infuriated Anheuser-Busch so much that it swiftly created three retaliatory spots to fire back at Miller.
Other attackers include Diet Coke with their Kung-Fu Can Super Bowl commercial starring Jay Moore and Jackie Chan. I'll also include Apple for their recent PC v. MAC spots. They are quite funny and hit some good benefits, but they're a little polarizing. This makes it more difficult to convert PC users to Mac users, which seems to be the goal of the spots. I like the commercials but everyone always gives Apple a free pass because their stuff is so good, someone has to pick on them a little bit.
Taking pot shots at your competitors is lame, even though it may be funny. It's like using poo-poo jokes; it can be quite entertaining, but the message is shallow and rarely strengthens your brand. Marketers should build their own brands, not try to tear down their competitors.