Brands Bravely Dis The Competition

Back in 2003, rapper Pusha T and his brother, No Malice, were paid a one-time fee of “half a million or a million dollars” for writing McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” jingle, the rapper tells Rolling Stone.  (Pusha T's claims have also been contested by other sources, the article notes as well).

Pusha T said recently that that payment was too low. Now, he has written a rap for Arby’s that disses McDonald’s Fillet-O-Fish sandwich. “A little cube of fish from a clown is basic,” goes one section of the track. “Say less. This argument is baseless. Drowned in tartar, that Filet-O-Fish is tasteless.”

Brands are often coy about the competition, but sometimes they call out their competitor by name.

For instance, Apple’s “Mac vs. PC” ads, which ran from 2006 to 2009, embodied both as a dumpy nerd (John Hodgman as the PC) and a hip, young guy (Justin Long as a Mac).



Apple, of course, was not above the fray. A Samsung ad from 2011 presents Mac fans waiting in line as clueless sheep and a lone Samsung fan as the cool one.

Such brand wars go back decades. In the 1960s, Avis took on No. 1 Hertz with its tagline, “We try harder,” which didn’t mention Hertz by name, but caused the brand to run an ad answering Avis' claim. “For years, Avis has been telling you Hertz is No. 1. Now we’re going to tell you why,” it read.

Pepsi also took a swipe at Coca-Cola with the Pepsi Challenge of the 1970s, which offered a blind taste test against Coke. Burger King also presented itself as an upstart challenging McDonald’s in the 1970s and 1980s.

Allen Adamson, cofounder of Metaforce, said that there’s probably less of this sort of back and forth these days because people have such limited attention. “There's a segment of the population that will sometimes be confused as to which brand was a better one,” he said. He said that’s a real danger these days. “The confusion factor is greater today, because there's so many people paying half attention to things.”

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