Boxing Negative Ads

Two for Tuesday: Negative Advertising

We’ve all been exposed to the occasional attack advertisement, most notably during election seasons. They can be nasty, controversial and even untrue; but do they work?

In recent years, several brands have turned negative in their ad campaigns against rival companies. This Tuesday, we’ll look at two examples of those brands.




In this Microsoft spot, the company attacks Google for electronically scanning the contents of users’ Gmail accounts in order to place ads. This is just one ad in a large campaign, all of which project the same message: use Google, get “Scroogled.” If you think the harshness of this campaign resembles a political ad war, you’re right: Microsoft developed the campaign shortly after hiring Democratic political operative Mark Penn, who ran presidential campaigns for both Bill and Hillary Clinton. Boosted by a political background, Penn helped push the aggressive “Scroogled” campaign to uncover some of Google’s perceived wrongdoings. Does the commercial make Google look bad? Definitely. However, does it make you want to use Microsoft Outlook? To me, it seems like Microsoft is putting more energy into explaining why Google is bad than explaining why Microsoft is good. I’m not convinced. What do you think?


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“There’s a Map for That”



Verizon plays off of the popular “There’s an app for that” Apple iPhone catchphrase. The company turns the phrase into “There’s a map for that” in order to flaunt its 3G coverage. The ultimate jab at its competitor occurs when the narrator says: “And if you want to know why some people have spotty 3G coverage, there’s a map for that, too.” While this sentence is spoken, a map pops up showing AT&T’s nationwide coverage, a pitiful percentage when compared with Verizon’s coverage map. Although Verizon calls AT&T out for providing poor coverage, this spot differs from the Microsoft’s Google jab in the ad we looked at above. Rather than attacking its competitor blindly, Verizon puts the two rivals side-by-side to allow for comparison. While Microsoft seems to say, “Look what Google does,” Verizon says, “Look what Apple does, and look what we do.”


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Cover Photo Source: Peshkova

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info] Leora is a Junior Executive at SJG. She is a native Chicagoan who is currently working toward obtaining a BA from Washington University in St. Louis. Outside the office, her favorite things include reading, live music and travel.[/author]