Brand Rivalries - Strategic Marketing

Brand Rivalries

There are two types of people in the world. Actually, there are more than just two types of people in the world, but it the world of marketing, people can usually be divided into two groups. There are Pepsi people and Coke people, Chevy people and Ford people, Popeyes people and KFC people, and so on. Of course there are those really agreeable people who will be happy with whatever you give them, but for the most part, consumers prefer one brand over its rival. Even James Carville and Mary Matalin have probably taken a united stand on either Hellmann’s or Miracle Whip; the numbers aren’t in yet on the fail rate of mixed-mayo marriages, but we’re betting they’re not great.

Brand rivalries have long been part of the advertising landscape, and they can be fun. Companies work really hard to build brand loyalty, so when consumers favor a brand enough to argue over it, it’s a testament to a well-liked product and also to an effective marketing campaign. A TV commercial for the Windows Phone gives a playful nod to the concept of fiercely loyal customers.

In the Windows Phone commercial, a wedding is interrupted by wedding guests who are seated with iPhone users on one side and Samsung Galaxy users on the other as opposed to the traditional seating with the groom’s family on one side and bride’s family on the other. The two sides trade insults about their respective phones and a fight breaks out. The only level-headed people in the room are the two people using a Windows Phone. The commercial portrays iPhone users as old fogies and Samsung Galaxy users as “one trick ponies” with the message being that there is an alternative available for those who don’t feel they fit into either category.

Another great use of this tactic was the Get a Mac campaign that ran from 2006 to 2009. It did a fantastic job of illustrating the divide between “Mac people” and “PC people.” The Windows Phone commercial should appeal to people who would like to think that they are not so easily categorized into one of two groups. Maybe Duke’s Mayonnaise should take a lesson from this playbook and get in on some good rollicking rivalry by becoming “the alternative mayo” for “alternative people.” The campaigns are interesting because they play off the idea that which product you choose to buy says something about who you are as a person, which not only defines you as a person, but also defines what it means to brand.

The Get a Mac link is courtesy of Adweek.com.