Friday, September 22, 2006

Ronald McDonald and the high heels.

In the last few days I have been amused and struck by two unusual bill poster adverts. One is for Pepsi Max and the other is for Burger King. After a brief search I couldn't actually find any links to paste here so you could see them for yourself so I'll do my best to explain them.

The Burger King one is simple. So simple that even I may be able to describe it. It shows a picture of a Whopper and simply has the caption:

"Eat like a King, not a clown".

The other, for Pepsi Max, shows a horizontal line. At one end of it, the left, is marked the word "Zero" and at the other end, the right, is marked "Max". At the "Zero" end is a picture of a pair of ballerina's shoes on tiptoes, at the other "Max" end is a photo of a sexy looking pair of high heeled shoes of the women's variety. My interpretation of it is that it is trying to say that Coke Zero is ok but the real sexiness and fun is to be had by Pepsi Max drinkers.

The Pepsi ad is a dig at Coca Cola's new drink, Coke Zero. The drink has been launched recently here in the UK and its target market is exactly the same as Pepsi Max's. The Burger King ad is a dig at McDonalds and their heroic, but scary, figurehead, Ronald the clown.

What struck me about these was that they both, in an ever so slightly subtle way, acknowledge and poke fun at their major competitor. The Pepsi Max ad is slightly more subtle and many people who may be unaware of the existence of Coke Zero won't even get it. Naturally the only people who live in the UK and are blissfully unaware of the birth of Coke Zero are monks and nuns, blind and deaf ones. They're probably not a huge target market for Coca Cola. Have you ever seen a nun drinking Coke Zero? No, nor have I. Q E D.

Likewise the only people who won't see the humour in the Burger King ad are those few who don't know that Ronald McDonald is just a fictional figurehead and not a real person. For person of course I actually mean clown, a particularly scary type of person. Just ask Savi or Electra.

I wonder if this type of advertising is something new or if it's old and I just haven't noticed it before. Either way it has my respect. It takes a great creative mind to come up with a way to run down a competitor in such a subtle and intelligently humorous way.

Creative chaps, I salute you.

I'll have a Whopper with Diet Coke please.


sach said...

This kind of thing is common in advertising. I vaguely recollect a similar issue between two lines of Sports shoes, two out of Adidas, Reebok (which are now together I believe) and Nike. I can't remember the exact advertisement but I'm sure there are bloggers who can remember.

In local ad's I've seen many digs at rival products. Would love to stay and talk but my books are calling me. Sigh. So later.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Thanks Sach. I think you're correct about Adidas and Reebok, I believe Adidas bought the smaller rival.It wasn't so much the dig at a rival that I was commenting on but more the subtlety of the dig.

I wish you well with your books, have fun!


childof25 said...

Like the "eat like a king not a clown" thats hilarious. Over here in the States they are much, much more blatant about straight comparisons and they name the rival products in ads sometimes...which i thought was a copyright violation, but apparently not

Electra said...

totally irrelevant...but, 'electra, the legend'?

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Electra - know! A blogging legend.