Whose battle is it after all....?

Since our childhood we have grown with innumerable war stories. Mythological wars to Egyptian war, Mahabharat to Battle of Panipat. Consumer marketing world is not much different when it comes to getting consumer attention and grabbing the market share. We have seen in the past that battle lines were drawn and brands offering similar consumer benefits going into an all out war.

The rivalry between Coca-Cola and Pepsi is legendary. Although the feud really heated up with the Pepsi Challenge in 1975 —which prompted Coca-Cola's horrific New Coke debacle — the brands have been fighting each other for more than a century since then. Its not just about product development. Things occasionally get personal, which mostly resonates in their marketing and advertising.

The brand war continued in the battlefield of consumer products with the latest advertisement of Pepsodent which has directly taken the war to the doorstep of its competator (Colgate), claiming that its toothpaste Pepsodent Germicheck is 130% better than competitor's products. If this was not all, then the latest to join the war zone are the media conglomerates The Times of India and Hindustan Times.

This comes as a fall out of the Indian Readership Survey number fiasco, which took an ugly route, when both the dailies had published reports with claims and counter claims, and the battle peaked in the recent days with TOI's  'morning challenge' and HT's hints at sabotage at its distribution centres. It may be recollected that the IRS data has been re-validated following complaints from various publishers.

But what now seems to be a battle gone beyond basic indifference of opinion, the two publications have devised and published video pieces going all out against each other. While both publications seem oblivious to the reputation and sentiments of the other, the video pieces stand as examples of the bitterness numbers can bring in the industry, where not many players hold similar repute and might across the country. Certain media observers suggest that the text displayed in these said videos is nasty and could be considered as a derogatory by the receiver.

However, what continues to remain a matter of concern for many is that the effect of this war on the ad-inventory during the upcoming festive season. While many have taken these numbers into use, some large players like these seem to have been unaffected by these numbers. As the last week has kept the publishers in limelight (for possibly the wrong reasons), it is a genuine wait and watch situation as to where this battle leads to...





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