Marketers may try to distinguish their products from those of their competitors by engaging in comparative advertising. (X Detergent cleans 25% more loads than the leading brand!)
But be careful when you pull out those comparisons: make sure you don't denigrate your competitor. Research is showing that consumers become quite sensitive to the tone of criticism marketers adopt in a comparative ad.
Choose your words wisely: if your comparisons are seen as derogatory, your message may well backfire. Negative references to competitors have been shown to actually make consumers:
- Believe an ad less.
- Argue against what it is saying.
- Have more negative attitudes toward the brand.
Ouch. Does that mean you should simply never mention a competitor, just to play it safe? Not necessarily.
Research also shows that negative effects do not occur when a marketer speaks more positively about the competition.
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