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Photo courtesy of Taco Bell
People like fights. People don’t like being in fights, but they like watching them. You know the old colloquialism, “It’s like a train wreck. You want to look away, but you just can’t.” And they don’t necessarily have to come to fisticuffs — a solid, loud and tacky argument will suffice. This is how shows like “The Real World” and “Big Brother” are still around. People like to see other humans resort back to their barbaric ways and lay down some serious burns on one another. In some recent spots by big-name companies, we’ve seen brands taking blatant shots at each other … and it’s been kind of cool to watch.
Taco Bell recently adopted a breakfast menu, including an almost novelty item (that I’m, like, way down for) — The Waffle Taco. And the avenue they took to advertise said taco was going straight for the jugular of America’s most beloved fast-food mascot: Ronald McDonald. Taco Bell went out and found 30ish real people named Ronald McDonald and filmed them trying its new breakfast delicacy. The spot ends with the subjects stating, “My name is Ronald McDonald, and I love Taco Bell’s new breakfast!” Somebody call in the burn-unit, cause that clown just got cooked up and served in a waffle.
(Sidebar: McDonald’s recently fired back via their Facebook page with this image. Sorry, Ronnie, I think the Bell won this round.)
Our next match comes from the world of automobiles. Cadillac recently released a spot advertising their new electric vehicle. I personally believe the commercial had good intentions in that it seemed like they were trying to make everyone feel A) rich and classy; B) inspired to conquer your dreams; and C) proud to be an American (where at least I know I’m freeeeeeeeee). However, everyone else seemed to hate it, suggesting it came off as smug, pompous and opportunistically patriotic.
Ford has a new electric car, saw this miss by Cadillac and decided to make fun of it, but also make it better. In this spot by Ford, they replace the rich, white man that Cadillac used with a hard-working black woman with an environmental agenda. We see the glamorous life replaced with greenhouses and gardens, and the oh-so-elite speak is replaced with a passionate message about why this woman does what she does. This juxtaposition offers the counterpoint that you don’t have to be rich, progressive and white to buy a nice electric car — maybe you just give a damn about the planet you live on, and want to make it a better (and less smug) place.
So, whether it’s UFC or NBC, we like to see some fight in our brands — and especially the ones we like. It shows awareness of their competitors, and a passion to fight “The Man” in a way its consumers can’t. Some might call them bullies, but bullies aren’t all bad. Some are fighting for you.
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