The War of Parody Ads: How far Brands go to Troll Their Rivals

It is said that competition is favourable for people, especially in a free market economy like the one in the UK and the US. Competition drives innovation and fosters greater creativity, and this stands true in the realm of advertising.

Here are a few examples of brands who decided to step up their game and openly mock their rivals by employing inventive and powerful advertising techniques:

Samsung Vs. Nokia Lumia

Samsung has recently launched a huge advertising campaign at Heathrow Terminal 5, the world's busiest international airport, involving ads running on billboards, digital displays, and signage throughout T5. Before Samsung took over as the most highflying advertiser at Heathrow’s Terminal 5, Nokia’s Lumia smartphones used to feature prominently in the advertising at T5.

Unwilling to disgracefully loose the advertising battle, Microsoft who currently owns the Lumia smartphone brand, decided to attack the rival mobile firm in style. Nokia launched its own stunt at Heathrow by sending a group of four "Lumianauts", dressed in their spacesuits featuring Lumia Space Cadets logo and the American flag, and had a little fun at Samsung’s expense.

Mercedes-Benz Vs. Jaguar

Mercedes-Benz launched a viral advertising campaign in September 2013 to showcase their Intelligent Drive Magic Body Control which ensures optimum driving comfort. The car manufacturer wanted to get across the following message "What do chickens and Mercedes-Benz have in common? Stability at all times."

Shortly after Mercedes-Benz released its ‘chicken campaign’, Jaguar decided to challenge its rival ad with their "Jaguar vs. Chicken" ad. They used a similar concept of a chicken showing its stability throughout the video but with a twist at the end: "Magic Body Control? We prefer cat-like reflexes, don’t you?"

Samsung Vs. Apple

Longtime rivals Samsung and Apple are constantly looking for ways to top one another. Samsung’s ad campaign entitled The Next Big Think released in late 2011 to promote the new smartphone Galaxy SII not only mocked iPhone users but it also took the opportunity to show their larger screens – a feature that gives Samsung a competitive edge over its rival’s smartphone. In the ad, Apple fans waiting in line to buy the next iPhone were ironically checking out the Samsung Galaxy S II of passers-by.

However, Apple has not retaliated with an ad campaign – probably because that would hint that Samsung’s tactics did get on their nerves.

Microsoft Vs. Google Chrome

Microsoft and Google are not being left from the war for supremacy in the IT industry. In March 2013, Google released an ad titled Chrome: Now Everywhere to promote their browser. 2 months later, Microsoft came up their Scroogled ad campaign to warn Chrome users that Google is breaching their privacy. Microsoft parodied Google Chrome’s ad by releasing an ad titled Microsoft Internal Google Chrome Bouncing Ball Now Everywhere, claiming that Chrome tracks everything they do. Microsoft’s Scroogled campaign was reinforced with other promotional tactics. The tech giant started selling merchandise with anti-Google messages. Google responded with a few witty remarks, saying "Microsoft’s latest venture comes as no surprise; competition in the wearable’s space is really heating up." Google also suggested that while Microsoft was busy selling t-shirts, Google was working hard on Google Glass.

All in all, it seems that using satire and opting for parody ads is a creative way for tech giants to troll their rivals. The antagonism for maximising brand impact in the tech industry is utterly high, the question though is how far are these companies willing to go to achieve their goals? 




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