Always Do the Opposite of Your #1 Competitor

By Maverick Steffen | Daily Marketing Advice

What good is it claiming to offer the same services as your #1 competitor? Instead, find the strength of your competitor and use that against them. In other words, stop trying to be better than your competitor- be different.

For example, Listerine led the market for years with the slogan: "One whiff of Listerine and you know that your mouth would smell like a hospital." Notwithstanding what my old Business Communications Professor would say, I think not bad.

Scope (Listerine's leading competitor) however found a way to turn the tables against their nemesis with their well crafted tag, "Scope is the good-tasting mouthwash that kills germs." Ouch, I bet Listerine needed to go to a hospital after reading that one!

Aspirin has been around since 1899 and is a staple in over-the-counter pain relief. Imagine how happy Tylenol was when they entered into the market in 1955 right around the time studies were showing that Aspirin caused "stomach bleeding."

Tylenol acted quickly and changed their marketing slogan to: "For millions who should not take Aspirin." Genius! Tylenol didn't talk about pain relief or pricing, rather they hit their #1 competitor head-on with a campaign that undermined their brand.


I lived in Pomona, New Jersey for a time and worked at South Jersey's Atlanticare Hospital as an aide and a security guard.

I was surprised when I noticed the "fine china" distributor Lennox was living right around the corner from me. So was their competitor Royal Doulton China. Royal Doulton proceeded to run headlines that read: "Royal Doulton, the china of Stoke-on-Trent, England vs. Lennox, the china of Pomona, New Jersey."

Ouch. Face it, thanks to Snookie, Sinatra's jokes, former Governor McGreevy, UMDNJ, To Catch a Predator and an unprecedented amount of power plants, New Jersey doesn't exactly have a sterling reputation. Royal Doultan found a way to distinguish themselves from their competitor, and you should too.


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