Going for the Jugular: What to Do When a Competitor Slips

When a competitor makes a mistake, fair play tells you to let public outcry do its work and simply bask in quiet schadenfreude. However, the market is telling you to go for the throat. Companies that have made jabs at their rival’s misfortune are discovering massive success.


Finding Success In Others Mistakes

Take for example, Wendy’s recent success over McDonald’s. McDo is the largest fast food chain in the world and its social media followers dwarf Wendy’s. But last March, the redheaded girl ripped apart the clown’s new marketing campaign in Twitter. In a post, the Golden Arches proudly announced that “by mid-2018, all Quarter Pounder burgers at the majority of our restaurants will be cooked with fresh beef”. But Wendy’s mischievously pointed out that it doesn’t apply to the other burgers or even to all the restaurants. This move deflated the Golden Arches while also creating social media gold as the redhead’s wit spread across the Internet and made her more popular than McDo.

And this isn’t the only time that companies found success in outwitting the competition.


In the Philippines, a similar event occurred in Jollibee’s #ChickenSad debacle. When Jollibee couldn’t fulfill ChickenJoy orders because of a disastrous IT problem, KFC Philippines decided to poke fun at the beleaguered giant by encouraging people to turn to its #SoGood alternative. While the ribbing eventually stopped, it drew many laughs and attention away from the Filipino favorite to KFC.

Ingredients Of A Successful Hit

But what made this work? Using basically negative PR against business rivals should have backfired and placed your company in a bad light too. These tricks had to be hidden, if they were to be used at all. But rules have changed. Now you can take the fight to your competitor directly.


Social Media Allows Mischief

The biggest change is social media. It’s very different from print or broadcast. New media culture is filled with witty one-liners, gentle ribbing, and generous amounts of sarcasm. It’s not a big deal for an online persona to be more mischievous. Notice that none of our successful examples used traditional media; the gravitas expected of the medium prevents campaigns like these to work.


Be Fun – Not Mean

But being mischievous isn’t automatically being mean. Lots of mischief and pranks are simply fun. Fun is a magic ingredient which creates friends and prevents complaints. Companies that went for their opponent’s jugular did it jokingly and the internet laughed with them.


Cultivate a Playful Online Brand Personality

Jokes work best when your brand personality is known to be fun. Otherwise people will think that something is wrong with you. Since 2012, Wendy’s have cultivated a mischievously charming online personality akin to a playful young girl. The redhead’s personality became so strong and defined that it inspired artwork and a new nickname: Smug Wendy’s. When she made her jabs at McDo, it was totally in character, which enabled the fast food chain to get away with it easily. If you want to make similar jokes on your competitors, your online brand personality needs to allow it.

Don’t let your rivals’ mistakes go unnoticed. Bring the heat and find your business booming.

Do you want to be smug too? Contact us and see if M2.0 can bring the fun to your brand’s online persona.