Tag: Attack Advertising
Although we can’t always transfer lessons from one situation to another, very often we can do just that. For example, let’s look at a basic tactic used in many games and sports. Take pool, for example. At every turn, the pool player attempts to do three things: hit the desired ball into the desired pocket, position the cue ball after the shot to line up the next shot, and similarly position the cue ball to deny the opponent a shot (should the original shot miss). Boxing and mixed martial arts are similar. With every attempted strike, a fighter tries to hit his intended target, tries to line himself up to potentially follow up the strike with more, and similarly tries to line himself up to deny his opponent from striking him before, in between, or after his original combination. Even board games like chess follow similar tactics. With each move a player tries to get his immediate positional or piece advantage, set himself up for a longer term one, and deny his opponent from getting the same on him.
As business people and marketers, we can apply those same three principles to every move we make in the market place. With every business plan, with every proposal, with every action, we only need to ask ourselves three simple questions. Does this move enhance my position/achieve my short term objectives? Does this move set me up to continue enhancing my position/achieving my objectives in the longer run? And does this move deny or invite my competition to counter me, nullifying my gains?
Let’s take an advertising situation we reviewd a while back from the perspective of attack advertising and re-look at it from this new perspective. Audi made an advertising move that directly challenged BMW. They put up a billboard with the text, “Your move, BMW.” But they never asked themselves those three questions. Did the ad achieve its short-term goal? Maybe, maybe not. But more importantly, Audi never asked themselves whether the ad set them up for a follow-up while denying BMW an effective counter.
So what did BMW do? The next day, they added the below billboard right next to Audi’s.
It truly was check and mate. BMW’s move was brilliant, but it was enabled because Audi didn’t take two minutes to ask themselves those questions.
First they duke it out in the marketplace. Then the advertising starts getting fierce. Then they go to court. AT&T vs. Verizon? Nope. This time it’s Weight Watchers vs. Jenny Craig. This past week a New York court just issued a temporary restraining order against Jenny Craig forcing it to pull its current ad comparing its weight loss statistics vs. Weight Watchers’ statistics.
If Jenny Craig is smart, though, now is the time to pull out all of the stops in its advertising campaign. Unfortunately for what we’d like to believe, attack advertising does work – if grounded in reality and pursued aggressively enough. So either Jenny Craig’s advertising claims were completely made up (which should also tarnish the reputation of their advertising agency, Young and Rubicam) or there is some basis to them, but the wording in the ads stepped over some legal line. If the latter, rework the ad, rerun it, and get the most out of the existing PR.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
If you’re a boxing fan you witnessed last week probably the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world moving up a weight class and taking apart his opponent in a brilliantly fought match. If you’re a marketing fan, you saw one telecommunications company dismantle the reputation of another in a brilliantly aggressive advertising campaign.
Manny Pacquio showed how a skilled practicioner can utlize his better speed, agility, accuracy, power, and timing in a boxing war. Verizon showed how a skilled practicioner can utlize its better speed, agility, accuracy, power, and timing in a marketing war. Manny let Miguel Cotto show what he had to offer in the first round (principally his power), determined Cotto’s weak points, and then picked him apart for the rest of the evening. Verizon let AT&T show what it had to offer these last couple of years (principally the iPhone), and then picked AT&T apart these last couple of weeks with its “There’s A Map For That” ad. (If you haven’t been paying attention to the Verizon/AT&T battle, here’s a synopsis.)
Once Pacquio started his attack, nothing Cotto did worked. Whatever Cotto tried, Pacquio responded better. Pacquio was relentless, knocking Cotto down twice before TKO’ing him in the 12th.
Similarly, AT&T tried sidestepping Verizon’s attack ads. Then they tried to move the fight out of the advertising arena into the court. And they similarly tried to respond with an open letter to their customers. Verizon reponded in court with a brief that opened with:
AT&T did not file this lawsuit because Verizon’s “There’s A Map For That” advertisements are untrue; AT&T sued because Verizon’s ads are true and the truth hurts.
And Verizon continues to respond with their new ad putting the iPhone on the “Island of Misfit Toys”.
So, what has been the result thus far? Daily tracking from YouGov’s BrandIndex shows that Verizon Wireless’ scores have soared while AT&T’s have plummeted. The press and buzz throughout the internet solidly favor Verizon. And sales? We’ll have to see. Is AT&T down for the count or will it get saved by the bell?
Domus is a full-service marketing consulting agency (and boxing fan) based in Philadelphia. We love a good rumble, especially when the marketers take off the heavy gloves. For more about us, please visit our web site at http://www.domusinc.com.
Ensure that you have a solid brand position, both in product/service and in message, and then attack. That’s the formula for a very effective form of advertising. Pundits regularly say that people don’t like to see attack ads – whether for political campaigns or for commercial brands – but they work. A recent case in point is Verizon’s newest set of ads attacking AT&T. At the same time Verizon was running ads for the new Motorola Droid that attacked the iPhone, but their really effective ads are the “They’ve got a map for that” ones. They went after AT&T at AT&T’s weakest point (their network coverage) vis-à-vis their own. YouGov’s BrandIndex is reporting that Verizon’s score has been rising while AT&T’s brand perception has dropped. In fact, AT&T has been hurt so much they filed a lawsuit against Verizon. They might serve themselves better by speeding up their network upgrade instead.
Domus is a Philadelphia-based marketing communications agency offering a full range of services. For more, please visit our web site at http://www.domusinc.com.
Or rather, good, relentless attack ads work. Everyone has seen how effective attack ads are in political campaigns. In fact, they’re so effective that they are the dominant form of advertising during election cycles.
But even outside of the political realm, good attack ads that consistently hammer the opposition often succeed, as long as the attacking brand has a solid position, a valid attack angle, and a long-term plan. (Long term is essential because in the real world, even lies, if told often enough, forcefully enough, eventually become accepted as truths by many people.)
Note that we’re not categorizing comparison advertising as attack advertising. We’re referring here to full frontal assaults on a brand’s position, status, and even good name.
And also note that a successful attack advertising campaign works best if the ads do not present an easy opening for counter-attack and if the target company does not aggressively and effectively fight back. Following are two examples.
This first one from Audi was blatant in calling out BMW, but didn’t really have any meat behind it. Moreover, not only did it leave an opening for BMW, they responded aggressively and brilliantly. Look at billboard that BMW put up next to the original Audi billboard within days of Audi’s. One word destroyed Audi’s attack.
On the other hand, Apple has been relentless in its campaign, attacking vulnerable Microsoft positions. Moreover, Microsoft has chosen not to respond forcefully and relentlessly itself, thereby eroding its own position and leading to increasingly successful Apple sales and profits. Below is yet another in a series of Mac vs. PC Apple ads.
Domus is a full-service marketing communications agency based in Philadelphia. For more information about us, please visit our web site at http://www.domusinc.com.