This article summarises the insights from a series of key papers addressing comparative advertising, where a product or service directly compares itself to a competitor to express that competitor’s inferiority.
Keith Coulter, International Journal of Advertising, Vol. 27, No. 5, 2008, pp. 853-883
In this paper, the effects of positive versus negative (political) advertising are modelled. The findings show that positive as well as two different types of negative advertising will lead viewers to formulate specific attitudes towards the brand (sponsor).
The author discusses the role of the National Advertising Division (part of NARC, the advertising industry's self-regulatory body in the USA) - this is mainly to police competitive claims for truth and accuracy.
Tahi J. Gnepa, Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 33, No. 5, September/October 1993
A study of comparative advertising in magazines. Hypotheses tested were: a) that the intensity of comparative advertising varies with the life cycle of the product; b) comparative advertising may be counterproductive, especially when used by the leading brand.
Describes the new EC Directive, amending directive 84/450/EEC on misleading advertising. If the proposal for this Directive is passed by the Council and implemented by Member States, there will be new rules to define trademark issues better, and permit (with safeguards) reference to competitors' marks.
No European country, apart from the UK, currently allows comparative advertising. The EEC's draft directives, although restrictive, may have the effect of allowing comparisons across Europe if they are not misleading or unfair, and have little effect on the UK.
Stanley Tannenbaum, Classic Speeches - 4As, 1976
Speaking at the 4A's (the American Association of Advertising Agencies) 1976 Annual Meeting, Stanley Tannenbaum, of Kenyon & Eckhardt, discusses what comparative advertising offers the consumer, as well as the legality and ethics of named comparative advertising.
Andrew Kershaw, Classic Speeches - 4As, 1976
Replying to Stanley Tannenbaum at the 4A's (the American Association of Advertising Agencies) 1976 Annual Meeting, Andrew Kershaw of Ogilvy & Mather Research, cites the group’s research to argue that comparative advertising falls short of traditional advertising methods, and may damage a brand's image.