BMW Compares Audi. Shane Sutton 213555376 (Username suttonshane)
Comparative advertising occurs infrequently, so what happens when it does occur. In a comparative advertisement the advertising brand also mentions the name of a competitor brand. Would this in fact confuse the viewer, or would it make it clear than the advertising brand is indeed a better option than the competitor.
BMW have compared their Series 3 318i Sedan with Audi A4 Sedan. In the advertisement they show the BMW handling in wet weather to be far superior to that of another vehicle. Whilst they do not mention Audi specifically they do mention the words “one of our competitors” and show the Audi logo.
According to Iacobucci (2013 p 149) Comparative advertising “Why would you bother to advertise for the competition? If you’re the little guy with a new brand, you might mention the big brand in your ad to gain an association with…the market leaders brand”. However BMW is a bigger player in their market segment than Audi so what is their gain by mentioning Audi.
A slightly different take on comparative advertising is that by Investopedia.
Investopedia stated “Comparative Advertising – A marketing strategy in which a company shows how its product or service is superior to that of its competitor by comparing the benefits and costs”. This is the example taken up by BMW where it shows its vehicle to have superiority over Audi.
BMW Series 3 and Audi A4 compete for the same market. Audi A4 is more expensive starting around $70,000 while the BMW Series 3 start around $60,000.
Looking at this graph, the premium car market segment Mercedes Benz is ahead of BMW which is slightly ahead of Audi.
So what motivates BMW to mention Audi in an advertisement. It obviously thinks it has a superior car as demonstrated in the advertisement. Considering the reach and frequency they were seeking in their campaign they obviously wanted to drive home the message that BMW is safer in wet weather conditions than what an Audi is. Did they need to mention Audi or could they just have shown how safe their car is (non-comparative ad).
When considering comparative advertising you have to ensure you are comparing like for like. Take the issue of Woolworths and their car insurance advertisement of 2012 when they compared the cost of their premiums to other insurers. http://www.millsoakley.com.au/is-the-end-nigh-for-comparative-advertising/
Law firm Mills Oakley reporting on the case questions whether the end of Comparative advertising is nigh. The problem with Woolworths advertisement according to ASIC was that is was misleading as the premiums Woolworths were comparing were not like for like. Rather than contest the issues in court, Woolworths withdrew the ads.
Therefore in this case BMW would have to ensure they were comparing cars that were like for like. This would entail ensuring they were similar sized cars, similar power, tyre wear, condition and age of car.
A noted point of difference between the two vehicles is that BMW is a rear wheel drive whilst Audi is a front wheel drive. However this is not mentioned in the advertisement.
According to Nelson Ireson, Senior Editor at The Car Connection. http://www.thecarconnection.com/news/1074585_audi-a4-vs-bmw-3-series-compare-cars
“BMW and Mercedes Benz are the luxury-segment front-runners, lately, Audi has been gaining on them.”
Therefore it can be considered that BMW, wary of Audi gaining on them, is trying ways to get market share off Audi. To do this they have picked on one aspect of the vehicle, that being better stability in wet conditions. To do this though it must consider if there are other aspects of the vehicle which are subservient to Audi’s vehicle. Thus if Audi is superior in some way could they not just repeat the favour and do a comparative advertisement showing their superiority over BMW.
Given that any publicity is good publicity would Audi welcome the mention by BMW or would they go into public relations mode and try to defend their brand. Audi have not hit back with a comparative advertisement of their own instead concentrating on non-comparative one-sided argument type of advertising.
BMW have been audacious in this instance and for the moment it appears to have kept their sales above those of Audi. We eagerly await the next instalment of the premium car market segment stoush.
The Car Connection News http://www.thecarconnection.com/news/1074585_audi-a4-vs-bmw-3-series-compare-cars
Iacobucci, Dawn. Marketing Management, Cengage Learning 2013
New Car Sales Figures http://www.caradvice.com.au/476959/new-car-sales-figures-august-2016/