For years, Asda has used comparitive advertising to set themselves apart from their competitors. This is specifically evident in their ongoing price battle with Tesco, although many other supermarkets have also been targeted in their television adverts.
Comparitive advertising has been found to increase believability (Golden, 1979). Nearly 600 participants were asked to complete a questionnaire concerning the effectiveness of comparitive advertising. For example, participants' loyalty to a brand once they had seen a comparitive advert about it. It was found that, paired with appropriate themes about the brand and product (such as the mention of Tesco Clubcard above), comparitive advertising is more effective than non-comparitive advertising.
Comparitive advertisements were also found to have a negative impact on consumers' loyalty to rival brands (Putrevu & Lord, 1994).
However, other studies have shown that comparitive advertising can have a negative effect. For example, Pechmann & Stewart (1990) found that comparitive advertising for established brands (such as Asda) can increase consumers' awareness of competing brands and therefore have an effect on customer loyalty. Therefore, further research is needed to establish the correct conditions and themes that lead to comparitive advertising being successful.
Golden, L. (1979). Consumer reactions to explicit brand comparisons in advertisements. Journal of Marketing Research, 16, 517-532.
Pechmann, C., & Stewart, D. (1990). The effects of comparitive advertising on attention, memory and purchase intentions. Journal of Consumer Research, 17, 180-191.
Putrevu, S., & Lord, K. (1994). Comparitive and noncomparitive advertising: Attitudinal effects under cognitive and affective involvement conditions. Journal of Advertising, 23, 77-91.