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The Five Most Famous Rivals in Advertising History

Print and television advertising sometimes has little to do with a company’s product. Popular ad campaigns need to do little more than paint one brand as sexier and younger than another to gain traction among consumers. Every industry has its share of advertising rivals. From small town car dealerships or local sandwich shops to global powerhouse brands, there is no battle too large or too small for a healthy ad war. Read our list below for some of the most epic campaigns in the fight for consumer loyalty.

Pepsi vs Coke

Generally labeled the “cola wars,” this famous rivalry has tried to influence the taste buds of caffeine lovers around the globe. Who knew that a fizzy, syrupy-sweet concoction could spawn such a bitter war? This rivalry was born over one hundred years ago, and it still rages today. One defining moment in this ad war was the 1975 Pepsi ad campaign, “The Pepsi Challenge,” which prompted Coca-Cola to embark on their failed New Coke venture. Pepsi has kept their image young and exciting with a host of celebrity endorsements, and their “Pepsi Generation” slogan. Coke has tended toward more family-friendly and global themes. In 2011, Pepsi famously co-opted Coke’s beloved polar bears for a fun ad of their own.

Audi vs BMW

The battle between these German motor corporations has sparked ad wars that brought Subaru and Bentley into the mix. The highlight of this rivalry is the 2006 “Car of the Year” ads. This battle was tipped off by BMW’s campaign that congratulated Audi for winning the South African Car of the Year 2006. The ad was signed “From the Winner of the Car of the Year 2006.” A veritable tennis match of rival ads followed this playfully antagonistic campaign.

Apple vs Microsoft

Apple entered the world of television advertising with a bang in the form of their famous “1984” commercial. In an attempt to gain ground in the personal computer market, the company launched their successful “I’m a PC” ad campaign in 2008. The spots featured a boring, middle-aged square (as the Microsoft PC) juxtaposed against the hip, fresh face of the Apple brand. Microsoft fought back with a similar commercial featuring one of their own employees, along with a series of “Laptop Hunter” commercials in which consumers were given cash to choose the better computer. Needless to say, they chose Microsoft.

McDonald’s vs Burger King

The battle for America’s burger of choice goes back decades, as these two monoliths have been fighting it out as far back as most consumers can remember. McDonald’s family-themed advertising has most recently been countered by Burger King commercials that feature edgy humor and more adult interests, including pop stars and celebrities like David Beckham and Mary J. Blige. It seems their advertising dollars are not yet giving them the edge, though, since McDonald’s continues to dominate the market.

Ford vs Chevrolet

These American auto-makers wage constant war for the title of consumer favorite in their popular truck lines. A defining incident occurred in a Chevy 2012 Super Bowl ad that featured a Silverado driving through the ruins of the predicted Mayan apocalypse. Ford’s attorneys immediately followed with an angry letter to GM management. However, they were told that there would be no Chevy apology until “the end of the world”.

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Kate Simmons is a fresh graduate and occasional blogger currently working for a company specializing in outdoor banners. She is mostly interested in topics related to advertising, business and education.

 

 

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