Comparative advertising is an advertising strategy that enables marketers to compare their brand with the competitor's one to highlight their benefits. Companies using this strategy present their product as the best choice.
Is comparative advertising legal?
Yes, it's definitely legal. Comparative advertising makes companies develop faster and generate innovative ideas in a highly competitive environment. In addition, this type of advertising attracts user attention, unveils the best features of several competing alternatives, and allows consumers to make an informed decision.
Back to the law, the Lanham Act regulates false-advertising in the USA. In simple terms, to produce legal ads, remember that they should refer to some scientific research, study, or any verifiable results. You can’t just say that your medicine is the best choice to deal with food poisoning. Such claims need thorough investigations, experiments, and scientific evidence.
To be on the safe side, companies should not:
- mislead consumers by providing any ambiguous facts,
- contradict facts and research results,
- sugarcoat any data.
Generally, the law regulates what you say about your brand, claims you make about your competitors, and the way you present them. To ensure legal compliance, make sure you don’t violate every aspect of the false advertising law. Remember that a plaintiff must prove to the court that the claim from the advertising is false.
We strongly recommend that you compare your brand to similar brands. Don’t compare the products of your company to startups or any much smaller organizations because you can look like a bully and there are chances that consumers know nothing about your competitor. This way, you can harm your reputation and as a result, your potential clients will choose the offended company because of sympathy and your free advertising.
So, as you see comparative advertising is a chance of development and at the same time a great risk. To be fully aware of its possibilities, you should know the advantages and disadvantages of this type of advertising.
Pros and Cons of Comparative Advertising
To have a clear picture, check out our considerations on the topic below.
Advantages of comparative advertising include the following ones.
- Brand awareness increase. If you compare your products to the products of a bigger brand, you can boost your brand awareness significantly. Providing reasonable facts that make your company a better decision than a well-known brand is an effective way to attract the attention of a big audience. This will definitely work in your brand’s favor.
- More informed customer decisions. Very often consumers don’t carry out research because they’ve got used to buying this particular item for years. Hence, they are not familiar with the situation in your niche. Competitive advertising is a game-changer here. You can even demonstrate the flaws of your competitors but keep in mind that you should clearly cover the way you outperform competitors in this particular aspect.
Still, there are some tangible disadvantages. We’ve considered them below.
- Your brand can be subject to the law. This is the worst outcome, still, every marketer can face it. To avoid legal wrangling, check and prove every claim you make in your ad. Don’t mislead consumers and follow the rules we’ve outlined in the previous section.
- You can harm your reputation. Comparing your brand to a smaller company and excessive bullying can scare away your audience. People can find this strategy as a cheap trick so don’t go too far with your claims. Your ad should be lighthearted.
- You can lose customers. This may be the result of the previous statement. The only difference is that you risk not only wasting advertising money in vain by scaring away potential clients but lose your existing clients considering your brand as unworthy.
In spite of more disadvantages, comparative advertising is a great marketing strategy. Big brands often choose it for their campaigns. Look at the examples below.
Examples of Comparative Advertising
To make a good impression, big brands poke fun at other brands but the jokes are kind and light-hearted. Check out an example of comparative advertising produced by BMW. The brand knows that each child has their favorite superhero like Spiderman or Batman, so the brand turned BMW into a superhero. They hint that even Mercedes wants to become a BMW. This funny ad encouraged tens of thousands of likes and retweets.
The next comparative advertising is from Samsung. The brand makes fun of Apple. While people are waiting for the release of the new iPhone, the next big thing is already here and this is Samsung Galaxy SII.
So, now you know pretty much about the pros and cons of comparative advertising, get inspired by the examples, and create your outstanding campaign.
- Here you’ll find a quick guide to comparative advertising.
- This article offers some best practices to follow for optimal campaign results.
- This article considers comparative advertising in terms of the law.
Last Updated: 09.07.2021