Your Beer Is Good, but Ours Is Better: How to Badmouth the Competition
Did you watch the Super Bowl? Wait, let me rephrase that: Where you able to stay awake during this year's Super Bowl? If so, you may have noticed the start of an advertising campaign, one where Bud Light went after Miller Light and their alleged use of corn syrup. While mildly funny, I don't think it's gonna win any Clio awards for creativity in advertising.
And I am 100% certain it won't win any awards for being a graceful competitor.
Miller Lite responded with anger and action. They want on the PR offensive and pointed out that no, their product does not contain any corn syrup whatsoever. Corn syrup is used in the production process but is completely gone by the time the product hits the shelves.
That was the anger part. The action part was far more detrimental to Bud Light …
Beer, as a beverage, has been on a slow and steady decline for years. Micro brewed beer, wine, and spirits have grown disproportionately and have been eating away at market share. The three biggest beer producers in the world — AB InBev, Molson Coors and Constellation Brands — had a meeting planned this month to discuss ideas for joining forces in order to improve the image of beer (see Wall Street Journal article Feb. 24, 2019). However, after the ad campaign was run, Molson Coors pulled out of the meeting.
If you are of a certain age, you remember the back-and-forth beer wars that took place in the 70s. They were good-natured and hilarious as Budweiser and Miller jockeyed back-and-forth for what turned out to be just 1% of the market. Pepsi and Coke have done the same things over the years. Up until recently, such jabs were not taken personally. This time, however, some mucky muck at Molson Coors got his knickers in a bunch, opened a bottle of wine, and decided to take his bat and ball and go home.
When is it a good idea to badmouth the competition? Easy answer: How about never, does never work for you? Instead, it's a better idea to point out your differences, and one in particular …
"What separates us from our competition is the fact that we constantly bring our clients new ideas. We believe in challenging the status quo and want our customers to know that we will never stop working for their business."
What a great differentiator this comment is. It shines a light on the competition and asks (without asking), "What has your current vendor done for you lately?" Try some version of that statement the next time you hear a prospect say, "We already have a vendor."
Someday I'll cover the other common objection, "Your price is too high" by talking about the slogan for another beer: "Stella Artois. Reassuringly expensive."
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