The concept of comparative advertising emerged in the nineties. The nineties era witnessed the Pepsi–Coke war which was followed by Complan–Horlicks tug of war and the latest in the basket is the Rin–Tide war. Not Long ago the television audience witnessed the Advertisement War between the two giant companies – Proctor & Gamble (P&G) and Hindustan Unilever (HUL) where both were trying to promote their products – Tide and Rin respectively. There was a lot of hue and cry by both the companies and the matter was taken to court. However this Comparative advertising, in recent years, has become a multibillion dollar business and has challenged courts with new, complex legal issues related to the rights of consumers, advertisers and their competitors.
It’s evident that these companies are pushing their advertising and marketing team to innovative strategies to promote their products. But do you think the comparative advertisement is fair where you directly bully your competitor on television?
Well many experts might end up saying “Everything is fair in Love and War”. This is truly a war on television. It’s been long now those television audiences have not seen much of a war between the companies. Don’t worry as there have been two new ads that have brought back the so called fun aspect for the television audience.
The latest war has started between “The Times of India and The Hindu“.
In the ad the interviewer asks a few questions to some college students / professionals. Following are some of the questions that were asked “Who will succeed Ratan Tata as head of the TATA group?”, “What did Dhyan Chand play?”, “Who is the author of the Harry Potter series?”, “Paul McCartney was a part of which band?”, “What does ATM stand for?”. To one’s surprise none of them knew the right answer. Strange right!!. Wait tell you hear the next question – What is actor Hrithik Roshan’s nickname and which actress is associated with the size zero. Guess what…The respondents had no trouble answering these. Soon the Final question was presented “Which newspaper do you read” and almost all the respondents said “The Time of India”. Although there was a Beep effect while they were answering this important question, but it was clear. They said TOI.
The second ad involves two major giants in the motorcycle industry – Bajaj and Hero Moto Corp. The advertisement in controversy goes on like this, three men owning different bikes say they always desired Discover 125, but settled for something lesser to satisfy father or wife, or to avoid annoying boss. They sound apologetic about their bikes. When they name them, a bleep sinks their voice, but it leaves enough for viewers to guess they are referring to Hero’s Splendor or Passion. “Discover nahin hai, par chalta hai,” each of them says.
So it seems that the war of visual ads is back and surely the television audience will have a great time watching these creative ads. Some of you might think that this is just publicity and one must not end up promoting products in this manner. Well, the competition is tough out there and everyone is trying to gain attention of the consumer. At times in this process the war gets a bit rough and then they cross the limit. Hope that this war and future wars don’t end up taking the consumer for granted. As they say…at the end “Consumer / Audience is the real King”
Looking forward to your comments on this interesting topic and also whether you would like to see more ads of this kind on Indian Television.