Since the recession hit we have seen many brands take a nose dive both in sales and brand image. To many this has meant the end, but to others this was just the beginning of what may become a bitter or glorious brand war.
Last month two of Britain’s biggest supermarkets waged a multi-million pound price war on each other, giving shoppers an unexpected and welcome boost to their budgets as the prices were slashed throughout both stores. Firstly, Asda jumped in with two feet, revealing they planned to make cuts of £250 million to 10,000 items, including food, clothing and general merchandise. Tesco swiftly followed suit, announcing £270 million of reductions to more than 3,000 products.
The supermarket wars are now in full swing and these guys are not afraid to play dirty, claiming out and out that they sell the cheapest and best products around and publicly slurring the opposition in advertising and PR campaigns. Some are even parking branded vans carrying sabotaging messages outside competing superstores. Asda Chief Exec, Andy Bond is upfront about his intentions, telling the Telegraph, “We are declaring a supermarket price war. Over the next year we’re going to expose businesses that prey on customers, forcing them to pay through the nose for goods and services while they pocket massive margins.”
The supermarkets are not the only ones going head to head. Pepsi and Coca Cola, the two marketing arch-rivals are rumoured to be gearing up to continue their age old brand fight. Add to this Apple’s 2008 advertising campaign, slurring the lowly PC in their British poster campaigns, a move some have called ‘obnoxious’ and ‘borderline unethical’, but one that Paul Lee at Clean Cut Media calls, “so unique and memorable it will most likely go down in history as one of the best campaigns.”
This week Brazen launched the Nicky Clarke desiRED straighteners. Thanks to some sterling results from independent testing, the consumer PR and marketing strategy is now lead with the statement – “Independent tests show more women prefer Nicky Clarke desiRED straighteners to ghd” – a clear message and a full on head to head strategy – and one that invites the consumer not only to try the product but to check out the (considerably cheaper) price – a hugely important factor at the moment. This strategy is a winner no matter what state the global economy is in, but during the recession this is an even clearer call to action to the consumer.
In this financial climate this is fast becoming the norm however, and the consumer should sit back and enjoy the benefits that come from feuding brands. The recession is forcing companies to become more creative, think faster and smarter. It makes sense. After all this is a brand eat brand world now and only the fittest and most ruthless can survive. And along the way, we are all learning more and more effective consumer PR and marketing strategies. Enjoy consumers, enjoy.
By Victoria Jones, Account Director