The pros and cons of competitive advertising.

There’s competitive advertising… and then, there’s COMPETITIVE ADVERTISING.

Burger King puts big tacky price specials in the window. McDonalds buys a billboard that towers over their store...

Every fast food outlet with outside seating comes complete with its own Crazy Old Guy who says random stuff nobody understands to whoever swings by. This Burger King is no exception. Off the grid at the grill...

In South Africa it’s not legal to advertise competitively. This makes for more entertaining advertising – there’s nothing more boring than a “I’m better than you” contest. American advertising’s lack of entertainment value is one of the major reasons I chose not to get cable! Way back when, Mercedes filmed a commercial on Cape Town’s gorgeous Chapman’s Peak drive, showing the car speeding along and then flying over the edge. BMW responded with an ad in which it didn’t fly off the edge, with the pay off line, Beats the Benz. They were forced to end the campaign, but it was so memorable that that hardly mattered.

At Cape Town international Airport, two of SA’s top advertising agencies showed how you can get around laws like this.

competitive advertising south africa

I originally blogged this last year in July sometime... possibly before that. The blog, which I wrote in my own time while working as editor of, has now been handed over wholesale to the new editor, Annel Malan, as if she wrote it. Which isn't her fault but pisses me off. I mean, can't they set up a new one for her? Pathetic, people. My name is now nowhere now, so what's next? She gets the byline on every article I wrote for you?

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4 Responses to “The pros and cons of competitive advertising.”

  1. Rose Says:

    I’m totally disgusted that your Sign Language blog has been taken over with not an ounce of credit to you. That’s misleading advertising, which is also illegal.

  2. jeanbarker Says:

    Interested to know who rated the post one star? The person in charge of Letterdash these days? A PR from Burger King? I mean, it’s not a work of art, but that smells mean to me.

  3. 2010 in review « Jean Barker's Sign Language Says:

    […] The pros and cons of competitive advertising. September 2010 2 comments 5 […]

  4. Jacqui Baumgardt Says:

    Hi Jean. I am hoping you will be able to help me with a query. The company I work for is a professional body and we have our own quarterly magazine where people may advertise related services. The problem is we have our own contracted recruitment agency who does placements for our members and students and for which we earn a percentage of the fee. We advertise the services of this recruitment agency in the magazine. A member now wants to place recruitment ads in the magazine for which we would get an advertising fee but we would not get any fees should she successfully place someone on the basis of her ad. The difference in earnings could be quite substantial. I think this is an instance of competing with ourselves and I don’t believe we would be obligated to accept her ads for this reason. She is, however, threatening us with the Competition Commission. An expert opinion would be appreciated.

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