Product Comparisons

Human brains are wired in such a way that everything we see reminds us of something else. New products are automatically compared to old products in our minds the instant we're aware of their existence. It's not something we can help. It just happens. For this reason, product comparisons are one of the most time-honored forms of advertising, particularly daytime infomercials. A product comparison ad takes the natural mental comparison instinct and co-ops it by replacing the opinion the person would normally have formed on their own with a pre-packaged one provided by the company. If you're considering using product comparisons in your advertising campaign, here are some hints and tips to think about.

Make Sure Your Product is Actually Better

Obviously the first thing you should do before setting up your product as better than another in an advertisement is to make sure the assertion you're making is actually true. It's easy to claim your product is better but harder to make a superior product. No one likes a lair, and it won't take long for your customers to find out you are one if they replace product with one they've had for years with new ones from your company and they break right away. If nothing else, run your own tests in-house beforehand so you can at least know what to expect in a general sense.

Don't Trust Us, Trust Them

If you're dead set on using the actual name of another company in your product comparison commercials, the claim that your product is better shouldn't be based entirely on a few tests you did in-house. This can lead to accusations that you cooked the data in your product's favor, since no one representing the other company's interests was present during the test. In this situation the best thing to do is use the results of independent researchers. There are independent, not-for-profit consumer comparison foundations compiling statistics on everything from the closing costs of a house to the cost of a cheeseburger to which detergent gets out red wine stains better. So shop around, there's bound to be some data you can quote somewhere, and the independent researcher's name will save you from accusations of product misrepresentation.

Generic is the Key to Avoiding Lawsuits

If you're going to besmirch another product to further the prospects of your own, your best business decision is to generalize the demon product as much as possible to avoid libel or defamation lawsuits from the companies you're comparing yourself to. In house tests might not be sufficient proof to validate your claim and if there's no independent research to support it you might end up paying for your mistake in court.

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Thursday, June 13, 2024