Repartees are always good fun. This anecdote attributed to Winston Churchill is one of the famous ones: Nancy Astor was an American socialite who married into an English branch of the wealthy Astor family (she holds the distinction of being the first woman to be seated in Parliament). At a 1912 dinner party in Blenheim Palace—the Churchill family estate—Lady Astor became annoyed at an inebriated Winston Churchill, who was pontificating on some topic. Unable to take any more, she finally blurted out, “Winston, if you were my husband, I’d put poison in your coffee.” Without missing a beat, Churchill replied: “Nancy, if you were my wife, I’d drink it.”
Brands have engaged in competitive advertising over the years. Sometimes it has resulted in great repartees – like this one between Audi and BMW. It turned out into an all out war with Subaru and Bentley joining the fray too. Comparative advertising, where you directly name the competing brand and compare its features is like a double-edged sword – sometimes it does not meet the objective of getting competing brand users to switch.
When a brand attacks its competing brand (or what it thinks is competition) there need not necessarily be a reaction from the other brand. As in the case with Samsung & Apple. Samsung has released a new ad mocking the iPad Air but that its unlikely that Apple will react. It would be best for Apple to ignore it. But a lot has to be said for agency & marketing teams to think of, plan and execute a sharp repartee when a competing brand mocks them. As in the case with Cadbury Perk and Nestle India’s Munch.
It demonstrates quick thinking on the feet, being alert with your antenna up for a marketing opportunity. It shows hunger to solve a client’s business problem or capitalise on an opportunity to the benefit of the brand. Kudos to JWT and Maxus India on a great response in #MunchKaPunch. Also this represents the new reality for brands and social media. When HCL attacked Xerox in a print ad years ago, it just remained a print campaign talked about by agencies and newspapers of the day. Today, thanks to social media and the viral effect of sites like Upworthy, Storypick and such, the viral effect is huge. It amplifies and extends the effect of the campaign idea. And in the hashtag #MunchKaPunch is a well thought out one – there is a direct brand connect. Now waiting for Cadbury to respond. Will they?