Competitive Ads – Best Competitive Advertising Examples

Competitive Ads

In the ever-competitive market, brands are continually vying for consumer attention. The competitive ads landscape offers a rich trove of inspiration and a practical tool for improving your advertisement strategies. Let’s delve into this riveting world and explore some of the best practices and examples that can help elevate your brand’s presence in the market.

How To Get Ad Copy Ideas From Your Competitors

Why Consider Competitor Advertising?

Understanding the competitor advertising landscape can give you an edge in crafting your strategies. By studying their approaches, you can identify gaps and opportunities to position your brand better.

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Utilizing the AdSpy Tool

  • Comprehensive Insights: The AdSpy tool is a fantastic resource that allows you to glean insights into the ad copies of your competitors.
  • Keyword Tracking: Keep a tab on the most used keywords by your competitors, helping you to craft an SEO-friendly ad copy.
  • Creative Inspiration: Besides keywords, you can also get creative inspirations for your ads, making your campaigns more appealing.

Crafting Your Competitor Ad Copy

Once you have gathered sufficient insights using tools like AdSpy, it’s time to craft your competitor ad copy. Ensure that it reflects your brand’s unique voice while integrating successful elements noted in competitive advertising examples.

Further read: A Comprehensive Guide on Brand Protection

Best Competitive Advertising Examples We Came Across

The Cola Wars – Traditional advertising

Source: CNN

One of the most cited examples in competitive ads is the rivalry between Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Their ads often subtly reference the competition, sparking conversations and engagement among consumers.

Backdrop: It’s the 1980s, and the world is awash in neon, pop music, and… colas. The two major giants, Coca-Cola and Pepsi, are vying for the title of the world’s favorite fizzy drink.

The Salvo: Pepsi launches the “Pepsi Challenge,” a blind taste test, asking people on the streets which cola they preferred. More often than not, people chose Pepsi. This was a direct hit to Coca-Cola’s market dominance.

The Countermove: Coca-Cola, in response, decides to alter its century-old formula and introduce “New Coke.” This turned out to be a miscalculation. Fans were outraged, and the New Coke became a marketing blunder. Realizing their mistake, Coca-Cola quickly reintroduced the original formula as “Coca-Cola Classic,” which not only won back their fan base but also generated immense publicity.

Story’s Moral: While the Cola Wars continue today, this chapter teaches brands the importance of understanding core fans and not underestimating brand loyalty.

Fast Food Face-Offs – Classic War

Source: TBS Report

The fast food industry is also rife with competitive advertising examples, where brands like McDonald’s and Burger King often engage in friendly banter and competitions through their advertisements.

Backdrop: As urban landscapes changed and life became faster, fast-food joints sprouted everywhere. Leading this culinary revolution were two giants: McDonald’s with its Golden Arches and Burger King with its flame-grilled promise.

The Challenge: Burger King started directly comparing its flame-grilled Whopper to McDonald’s Big Mac, suggesting that their burgers were bigger and better. They ran campaigns like “Whopper Virgins,” where people who had never tasted burgers were asked to choose between the Whopper and the Big Mac.

McDonald’s Move: While McDonald’s didn’t always engage directly, they emphasized the unique taste and experience of their offerings, introducing iconic products like the Happy Meal.

Modern Twists: In recent times, the rivalry has adopted a playful tone. For instance, Burger King’s proposal for a “McWhopper,” a combination of the two brand’s iconic burgers, to celebrate Peace Day. While it didn’t materialize, the buzz it created was undeniable.

Story’s Moral: Competition can be fierce, but it can also be fun. These face-offs emphasize the importance of innovation and understanding the evolving tastes of the audience.

Tech Titans Tussle – Fun in its own way

Source: History-Computer

In the tech sector, Apple and Samsung have been notable for their competitive ads, sometimes showcasing the superiority of their products over the other in a cheeky manner.

Backdrop: The 21st century saw technology becoming an inseparable part of our lives. Leading the charge in the smartphone revolution were two giants: Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy series.

Apple’s Opening: Apple, with its iPhone, revolutionized the smartphone industry. With a sleek design, user-friendly interface, and the iconic apple logo, iPhones quickly became a status symbol.

Samsung’s Gambit: Samsung, not to be left behind, introduced the Galaxy series. They directly challenged Apple with ads showcasing features the iPhone lacked at the time, like a larger screen or a stylus. Remember the ad where they poked fun at iPhone lovers waiting in long lines, only to be wowed by features of the passing Samsung user’s phone?

The Battles: While ad campaigns were one thing, the tussle took another dimension when Apple sued Samsung for patent infringement, leading to a long legal battle.

Story’s Moral: In the world of tech, innovation is king. While Apple and Samsung continue their rivalry, it’s the consumer who wins, benefiting from the rapid advancements and features each brand introduces in a bid to outdo the other.

Coffee Clash: Starbucks vs. Dunkin’

Source: Apple Podcasts

This clash got so much attention that there is a popular podcast published on Apple Podcasts’ Business wars series that discusses the rivalry in great detail.

Backdrop: With morning routines across America deeply intertwined with a cup of coffee, two brands emerged as the forerunners of the café culture – Starbucks, with its sophisticated brews and lounges, and Dunkin’ (formerly Dunkin’ Donuts) with its no-nonsense, everyman approach to coffee.

Starbucks’ Sophistication: Starbucks positioned itself as a premium coffee brand. Beyond just coffee, Starbucks sold an experience – a third place between work and home. With jazz playing in the background and baristas crafting artisanal lattes, Starbucks catered to those who sought a higher-end coffee experience.

Dunkin’s Democratic Approach: Dunkin’, on the other hand, positioned itself as the coffee for the masses. With slogans like “America runs on Dunkin’,” they focused on delivering quick, delicious coffee without the frills. Their ads often had a friendly jibe at the complicated orders one might place at Starbucks.

Story’s Moral: Coffee became more than just a beverage. It became an identity. Whether you were a ‘Venti Caramel Macchiato’ person or a ‘Large Dunkin’ Black,’ your coffee choice became a statement, thanks to these two brands.

Footwear Showdown: Adidas vs. Nike

Source: Shaun Lucas/Industry Dive; Getty Images

A popular feud that always leaves the customers confused which footwear brand they should go for especially the ones who are first time shoppers.

Read the full story by Marketing Dive

Backdrop: In the world of sports gear, two brands raced ahead of the pack – Adidas, the European stalwart with its rich history, and Nike, the American dream story with its iconic swoosh.

Nike’s Narrative: With their “Just Do It” slogan, Nike crafted a narrative of empowerment, resilience, and achieving dreams. They partnered with global athletes, from Michael Jordan to LeBron James, embedding themselves in the very fabric of sports culture.

Adidas’ Angle: Adidas, with its three stripes, tapped into its European football (soccer) roots, collaborating with legends like David Beckham. They also leveraged pop culture, partnering with artists and influencers, ensuring they stayed relevant in both the sports and fashion arenas.

The Friendly Feud: Over the decades, these brands have taken jabs at each other, either directly or subtly. Remember when Adidas took a dig with “Impossible is Nothing”?

Story’s Moral: Passion, perseverance, and understanding your roots are vital. Both brands, while competing, have cemented their places in the global culture, each with a distinct voice and identity.

Streaming Skirmish: Netflix vs. Hulu

Source: Tom’s guide

Backdrop: As the 21st century progressed, traditional television saw a decline, giving rise to on-demand streaming. Two major players, Netflix and Hulu, vied for the binge-watcher’s attention.

Netflix’s Narrative: Netflix, originally a DVD rental service, swiftly transitioned to streaming and became synonymous with on-demand entertainment. Their strategy of producing original content, from series like “Stranger Things” to “The Crown,” set them apart.

Hulu’s Hook: Hulu, while also offering on-demand content, had a different strategy. They partnered with TV networks to offer episodes of popular shows shortly after airing, catering to those who wanted more immediate access without a cable subscription.

The Tug of War: Both platforms, while co-existing, often take digs at each other, especially in award ceremonies and through social media banter.

Story’s Moral: In the rapidly changing world of digital entertainment, adaptability is key. Both Netflix and Hulu showcased the importance of evolving with the times and understanding viewers’ changing habits.

BrightLocal – Brand bidding

A prime example of advertising wars in tech industries can be found on Google ads where you search for a particular brand and end up seeing ad advertisement copy of another brand.

In the screenshot above, you can see that we searched for “BrightLocal” but 2 other brands are trying to my attention running their ad on my searched query.


A great example of not letting your target audience slip to another brand can be seen in the screenshot above – where a popular brand “Chanel” is running ads on their own brand name so even if a competitor would want to compete, they are most likely gonna be on 2nd ad position or in some cases big brands like “Chanel” itself increase the bid of their keyword so high that a competitor can’t afford. This is called brand bidding.

Here’s a quick guide on brand bidding by Learn Digital Advertising

Tips to Improve Your Ad Copy

Understand Your Audience

First and foremost, knowing your audience is the key. Tailor your messages to resonate with your target demographic for better engagement.

Learn from Competitor Ads

  • Analyze the Language: Study the language used in successful competitor ads and see how you can integrate some elements without losing your brand’s voice.
  • Visual Appeals: Pay attention to the visuals and aesthetics in competitive advertising examples and try to incorporate the winning elements into your ads.
  • CTA Integration: Learn how your competitors integrate calls-to-action (CTAs) in their ads and refine yours to encourage more user interactions.

Further read: How to write an ad copy

Test and Refine

Don’t be afraid to test different approaches and refine your strategies based on the responses and engagement levels you observe.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I find competitors’ ad copy?

You can find competitors’ ad copy by utilizing tools like AdSpy, which allows you to analyze and gather insights on the ad strategies of your competitors.

2. What are competitor ads?

Competitor ads are advertisements where brands highlight their strengths, often in comparison to their competitors, to influence consumer choice in their favor.

3. What is an example of a competitor-based advertisement?

An example is the Mac vs. PC campaign by Apple, where they highlighted the perceived shortcomings of PCs compared to Macs.

4. Can you mention a competitor in an ad?

Yes, you can mention a competitor in an ad, often done subtly or through comparative advertising. However, it should be done without slander or false information to avoid legal complications.

5. How do I find competitors’ data?

You can find competitors’ data through various tools like AdSpy, which provide detailed insights into the ad campaigns of your competitors.

6. What are the 5 types of competitors in marketing?

The 5 types of competitors in marketing are:

  • Direct Competitors: Brands offering similar products/services targeting the same audience.
  • Indirect Competitors: Brands offering different products/services but solving the same problem.
  • Replacement Competitors: Brands whose products/services can be replaced by others in different categories.
  • Perceptual Competitors: Brands perceived as competitors due to similarities in branding or customer perception.
  • Budget Competitors: Brands competing for the same customer budget, even with different products/services.

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