Negative advertising is a type of advertising that focuses on the competitor’s weaknesses and is presented in the form of a speech, commercial, interview, article, etc. It includes spreading negative facts about the rival, deteriorating its reputation, and disqualifying in the eyes of buyers.

In this article, we’ll make the difference between positive and negative advertising clear, and review the effects of negative advertising.

Positive vs Negative Advertising

Positive advertising is used by companies to communicate good messages about their products and services. According to WordStream, 45% of ads contain positive messages because they help evoke good emotions in customers, attract more leads, and boost sales.

For example, the “Real Beauty” campaign by Dove. The famous brand highlighted the problem of women expected to be perfect and tried to convey that all women are beautiful.

Negative advertising is used to describe the weaknesses of competitors. It helps companies show products and services at their best and at the same time demonstrate the disadvantages of competitors’ alternatives and spread negative information to disqualify these brands. As a result, customer trust, competitor’s values, behavior, and respect might be shaken. Since the values and priorities of the target audience can be different, negative advertising pays attention to the current values of the group it addresses.

Let’s take Apple, for instance. “Get a Mac” campaign which demonstrated the disadvantages of Microsoft’s operating systems is a great example of negative advertising.

Now that you know the difference, let’s proceed to the effects of this advertising.

Effects of Negative Advertising

The main aim of negative advertising is to communicate the intended message about the competitor and affect customers’ purchasing behavior. It can result in the decrease of rival’s sales volume, negatively influence reputation and trust, and evoke concerns about whether to continue purchasing with this particular brand. By describing the weaknesses of competitors, companies try to show their merits and explain why they are better and customers should choose them.

To put it simply, companies can find various approaches to appeal to their audience and some of them prefer negative advertising. By shedding light on the rival's flaws, a certain brand expects to undermine the competitor’s reputation, boost sales, and make customers choose this company rather than its rival.

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