Cola war lets me recall the Pepsi commercial of MC Hammer in 1991, when I was a junior high school student in Japan. Today, I introduce the different thinking about a competitor through the commercial.
MC Hammer feels good dancing and goes to the stage wing. After he drinks Coca-Cola, he gets out of tune and starts to sing the slow tempo song, Feeling of Morris Albert. Then a boy passes a cup of Pepsi to MC Hammer saying “Hammer!” After having Pepsi, he starts to dance energetically like his former self.
Not few Japanese remembers the commercial as a shocking one because before the commercial, a commercial that compares a product to competitor’s one and criticizes competitor’s product used not to be broadcasted in Japan. According to the articles of Seattle Times and Boca Raton News, PepsiCo Japan filed a complaint with Japan's Fair Trade Commission because Japan Coca-Cola Co. pressured TV stations to stop the commercial on air. After this filing, TV stations kept the commercial on air by making Coca-Cola in the commercial masked.
According to the articles, comparative advertising like the commercial is common in the USA. In Japan, people used to have the climate of opinion such that comparative advertising was contemptible although it did not criticize rival’s product clearly. I think that this climate reflects the idea that a good quality product has good sales even though a competitor does anything. This idea ignoring a competitor is so dangerous for strategy planning. However, the article of Boca Raton News describes that teens and 20s people at that time, my generation nowadays, considered a comparative advertising acceptable. How do you think that this Pepsi’s commercial?
Can't touch this: Coke told to keep hands off Hammer ads. (1991, May 12). Seattle Times. Retrieved from http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19910512&slug=1282658
SmartAdvertising. (2009, January 8). Pepsi MC Hammer [Web Video]. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/MrsCIK9s2wI
Pepsi's Coke-bashing stirs debate on comparative ads in Japan. (1991, May 29). Boca Raton News. Retrieved from http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1290&dat=19910529&id=F9xOAAAAIBAJ&sjid=G40DAAAAIBAJ&pg=2693,6855622