The idea for this blog post came about whilst flicking through designboom. Suggested at the bottom of an insightful article about 3D printing with concrete (fascinating and worth a look) were two very different approaches at PR by two companies who sell the same product.

Mazda and Lamborghini both make cars. You will probably be a lot more familiar with the former than the latter in a physical sense, but they have more in common than you think. They both produce products that have four wheels and move, however Mazda have dipped their toe in the supercar market, especially in recent times since the inception of their ‘KODO’ design philosophy and the Furai concept back in 2008. So not too dissimilar then, however the above two images could not be more different in terms of how they want their brand to be portrayed. Lamborghini don’t even need to show the whole car to impress, where Mazda seem to be trying a bit harder, and coming up a bit shorter.

This kind of comparison came about inadvertently, but they were both trying to reach the same audience. In a time where neither company has a new release they need to stay in the public eye, so they have both painted a standard model in their range, to very different outcomes. In stark contrast to this, electronics manufacturer Asus seem to have taken a lot of inspiration from competing electronics manufacturer Apple with the release of the new Asus ultrabook – the ZenBook 3. A very interesting and capable looking machine indeed, however a quick scroll down the mini-site for the laptop gave me a familiar feeling, and when it became apparent that it was aimed at the new MacBook’s market a lot of comparisons could be made.

It’s got a flavour of copyright infringement about it, and even though their markets are not directly competitive due to the nature of the war between Windows and Mac, it does toe the line between copycat products very closely. The ZenBook is very much marketed as the MacBook for the Windows community, which is a good thing for those who have to use Windows products at work. However this campaign does have a feel of ‘Supermarket Own Brand’ vs ‘Market Leader’ that is not reflected in the pricing structure for the two products.

Finally direct attacks from companies are not uncommon in PR to set themselves apart. As the saying goes: “There is no such thing as bad publicity.” So companies are not afraid to be outspoken, which is abundant in the ad campaigns of bookmakers and betting companies. Case in point: the 2015/16 football season’s adverts from Ladbrokes and BetVictor. Ladbrokes taking an in-your-face everyman approach to appeal to their target market, and with good success. That was until BetVictor decided to take the high road with a decidedly more decadent yet laid back approach.

What Headcase Thinks? Even if you aren’t targeting competitors with your campaign, you might accidentally be compared more than you would desire, just like Mazda and Lamborghini. If you are targeting competitors, be careful. BetVictor were looking for a new ad agency prior to the Euro 2016 competition that is now ongoing. What works? There is no formula, but expect your campaign to be subject to all 3 types of comparison, even if you didn’t play it that way. Oh and Mazda, please don’t put denim inside an MX-5 again.

 

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