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OK folks, I just can’t hold back…

This past weekend was a weekend meant to catch up on home errands. I do love to do that. It makes the following week so peaceful and productive on all fronts. So, while I’m cleaning around the house and setting things up (as we moved just recently), of course, the tube is on. (Little confession: I can get easily distracted with the TV on!)

All I can say is “OMG!” I canNOT believe the number of products – big brands – that are out there indulging in (what I’ve not-so-affectionately dubbed) bash marketing. I’ve Googled the term and it certainly doesn’t exist – at least, not the way it’s defined in my mind. Ooooh, you’d like to see that definition… Alrighty then, here it is:

Bash marketing –
Marketing strategies, concepts and executions based on the notion that undressing (putting down) the competitor(s) will achieve purchase consideration, intent and decision for the brand.
Usually executed by explicitly naming one or more competitor(s) in the execution, by demonstrating the competitor(s) weakness(es) sometimes in comparison to the brand’s benefits (but usually not), and by trying to make fun of the competitor(s) in question.

Now, maybe this is very juvenile to think, but didn’t your mama ever tell you not to make fun of others, even if you didn’t like them? And, didn’t you learn that sometimes, you should just worry about what you’re doing and how you’re coming across instead of worrying about other?

My personal favourite is the Buick Lacrosse vs. Lexus ES350. Did you notice the tagline rip-off? (Lexus’s tagline is “The pursuit of perfection”; and in this commercial, the Lacrosse supporters ask: “If perfection is what you pursue…”)Two questions come to mind – even if you aren’t in the market for a new “luxury” car:

  • Did this commercial make you want to buy a Buick?
  • Did this commercial make you think that Buick is better than Lexus?

When people buy luxury cars, they are expecting a few things: a well-known brand, unique features (i.e. leather seats, panelling, chrome), and a car that works. In the case of this commercial – you’ve shown me 2 well-known brands, 2 cars – each with oddly similar features – and, 2 cars which I have no doubt, “work just fine”. So, I’m really unclear as to how this commercial did anything to convert me from being a Lexus purchaser to a Buick purchaser.

Here’s the thing, and I’m speaking based on informal conversations with others who have recently purchased luxury cars (since my Hyundai Elantra 2005 does not qualify). When people buy these types of cars, they are not just buying a car – they are buying a statement. They want to belong to something, they want to own a piece of exclusivity, they want an accessory to their outfits. They also want service, they want treatment, they want to feel important. Did this commercial provide assurance for any of that?

Sadly, bash marketing is not only used here. No doubt, it goes back a long way, and transcends a multitude of industries:

And, my question is: does the instigator ever win?

As a consumer, when I see bash marketing being used, I think: OK, I know what you think is wrong with your competitor; but I don’t know what’s good about you. If you’re someone I trust I may believe your opinion of the other brand; but, what if I don’t? If I don’t, you’ve just basically pushed me away, and I’m somehow certain that’s not what you would like to do.

Bottom line: show the consumer what YOU are good at. Recognize their wants, desires, needs and show how YOU respond. This is not about the other guy; this is about YOUR relationship with your consumer (or potential consumer). Don’t be negative; don’t be defensive… just be YOURSELF!

That’s my rant.

So, bash marketing… do you like or dislike?

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!
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