Some people humanize brands and say that they have a kind of personality – that they are nice and friendly or more sophisticated, for instance. And, like real humans, brands can actually also like each other… or not!

A large percentage of the funniest commercials and ads in history are at the expense of other brands.


Round 1: DHL vs. UPS vs. TNT vs. DPD vs. FedEx

Take the logistics industry for example: In 2014, DHL let UPS, TNT, and DPD advertise for them using a “Trojan Mailing”:


But, it seems as if FedEx is even one step ahead of DHL in this advertising contest:


Hilarious, right!?


Round 2: McDonald’s vs. Burger King

Even more entertaining is the everlasting fight between McDonald’s and Burger King. BK always claimed that their Whopper is larger than Micky D’s Big Mac and also showed this in its ads.



This year McDonald’s mocked Burger King in a pretty creative way in France:


But the smart guys in BK’s marketing department took up the gauntlet and implemented a little plot twist:



So, what do you think? Who won round 1 and 2? And do you know any other entertaining ad-bitchfights?


Written by Felix Kausmann

So, Coca-Cola, already uber-present in our lectures, made another move that will probably be analyzed soon in all branding-related courses throughout the Netherlands: the company is introducing a new unifying packaging for Coke and its sub-brands Coke Diet, Coke Zero, and Coca-Cola Life. Their re-packaging is a substantial step within the company’s One Brand strategy, which was introduced earlier this year.

The new design is based on the Red Disc that Coca-Cola also uses in its “Taste the Feeling” campaign.



“Packaging is our most visible and valuable asset. The Coca-Cola Red Disc has become a signature element of the brand, synonymous with great taste, uplift and refreshment,” said Coca-Cola’s CMO Marcos de Quinto in a recent AdAge-interview. Now, the sub-brands will no longer be perceived as stand-alone products, but merely as variants of the same soft drink.




What should we think about this move from a marketing point of view?

Pro: such a unified appearance and communications are way easier to handle than coordinating a whole set of distinct sub-brands. The company might benefit from scaling effects and lower the costs while also increasing sales. That’s at least what Coca-Coal is hoping for.
Con: it might also be the case that the sometimes quite negative and unhealthy image of the original Coke will be transferred to the other variants. The reputation of Coke Diet, Coke Zero, and Coca-Cola Life could be seriously damaged.

I’m in fact not sure if this whole One Brand thing is such a good idea… In my opinion, it would have been better to differentiate even further and protect the “wannabe”-healthy Coke Zero and Life from the original Coke’s bad boy image. Especially nowadays, where superfoods and organic drinks are a trending topic, should Coca-Cola think twice before forfeiting the chance to leverage this upcoming market. But what do I know, right? I assume that their brand manager earns a lot more money than I do and probably evaluated all options carefully.

What’s your take on this? Anything to add to the pros and cons list?

Written by Felix Kausmann

We’ve all heard of Taylor Swift, the singer/songwriter who started as a country starlet and managed to completely crossover and convert into a full-fledged pop superstar with her latest and very successful album 1989. She is the most followed celebrity on Instagram (62.32 million), Twitter (more than 60 million) and has the on-demand music industry at her feet.


Whether you love her or hate her, it is undeniable that she is a trendsetter, not only in music but in everything she sets her mind to. However, it wasn’t always so smooth for Swift, she had to overcome major bumps before she made it to where she is now – Forbes’ list of the world’s highest paid celebrities with position #8. How did this happen you say? Here is a major marketing insight that places Taylor Swift at the top of her game:


She Reinvented Herself: Re-Branding – A vital part of a sustainable marketing strategy is to know how your company, your brand, your product is perceived and Taylor Swift’s team did exactly that analysis. Not too long ago, in 2013, Swift made regular appearances on the “Most Hated Celebrities” lists and was consistently one of the worst-performing magazine cover stars. While her fan base was strong, it wasn’t enough to erase the strong associations Swift had with being a serial dater, an immature girl who was crazy and desperate for a boyfriend. While these labels were making headlines, nobody wanted to read about her nor click on online articles related to her besides the Swifties (as her loyal fans like to call themselves) – her appearance on Cosmopolitan’s Christmas cover was the worst-selling issue that year. It was evident she had to reverse opinion (especially of women) and, for the most part, she surely did. 



Phase 1– Late in 2014, after disappearing from the spotlight for six months, Taylor wrote “Blank Space”; a song that basically made fun of her media portrayal of a ‘maneater’ and that was designed for her to take ownership of the joke. She remained single while writing her album 1989, focused on writing about herself and staying out of the boy-talk in the tabloids. Then, with her single “Shake It Off”, a song you could not miss, even if you lived under a rock, she sang about ignoring the haters and being yourself. In the video of the same song, she showcases some terrible dance moves to different song genres, and slowly Taylor managed to go from a desperate girl to a lovingly awkward one.


Phase 2Upon assessment of what may be hindering the sales or positive image of your company, brand, or product, it is necessary to make an 180-degree change. At the beginning, Taylor Swift constantly portrayed herself as the innocent girl who got bullied and got her boyfriends stolen by other “cooler” girls. She probably detected that pinning other girls affected her image and she decided to change her strategy. Not only has she been more vocal and supportive of feminist comments, she also recruited the coolest girls in town, and created what we all know now as her #squad. Now, her photos are all about her adventures within her “cool” and powerful group of friends including (models) Karlie Kloss, Gigi Hadid, Cara Delevingne, and Kendall Jenner and (musicians) Selena Gomez, Ellie Goulding, Lorde, among others.

Taylor Swift and friends BST.jpg


Taylor Swift teaches us that no matter how good and loved you are in your field and/or by your loyal customers, you also have to reach for new ones. The best way of doing that is assessing your company, brand or product and identifying areas in which a change is needed in order to obtain a better image. If it goes anything like it did for Swift, these changes and sacrifices are definitely for the better.


Written by Laura Garcia

The 50th Superbowl Sunday… the season finale is one of the most watched sports events of the year; every year. This year’s viewing rates aren’t released yet, but based on previous figures the estimated number of people watching, amounted to 117M. Due to an unfortunate series of events (i.e. living in the Netherlands, as opposed to the U.S., not subscribing an extended sports package, also not finding a good stream, and not wanting to stay up until 4am in the morning), I did not watch the game last night. I can’t say I’m that upset that I missed the match, because even though I lived in the States, I didn’t grow up getting (American) football drilled into childhood, so I lack the communal sentiment. I am, however, sad that I missed the show. And by that I mean the half-time program (sorry for the bad quality..), the legendary commercials, and the puppy-bowl.

The Superbowl has grown into one of the world’s best TV marketing events. During the breaks, the biggest brands showcase their new campaigns, trying to trump one another with humor. Which ones were the best this year? I just spent a lovely 1.5 hrs watching (and rewatching) this year’s TV commercials (all in the name of research, of course), and picked three that caught my eye.

The one for the women who don’t care about football but slaved in the kitchen to make snacks for everyone

Superbowl Sunday is something the whole house + neighbours + friends take part in; but what if not everyone likes football? You give them Ryan Reynolds; in many outfits and forms. In any marketing effort, it’s important to know your audience, and with this big football event, the audience doesn’t just consist of those who love football.

The one that’s based on hot-topic marketing, but isn’t really Superbowl Sunday material

Marketing, by personifying a company, is a road travelled within industries where brands experience difficulty differentiating from others. Taste is a sense that is challenging to sell with words and visuals. so brands try to give their product a human face (Aaker, 1997). In this Budweiser commercial Helen Mirren sells the beer as someone who cares about drinking responsibly. Despite a few weak attempts, the clip is not very funny. You would expect a beer brand (especially) to come up with something hysterical, but unfortunately Budweiser lagged behind. Maybe it’s because it’s so obvious what they’re trying to do here, or maybe it’s really just not that great, but in any case, it’s not very impressive attempt in a competitive environment like the superbowl.

The one with the most goodwill

Even though this commercial has a very clear target market (the 40-60 year old crowd), this speaks to a much bigger audience. The cute dachsund puppies (also called sausage dogs) are literally turned into hotdogs, as they run across an extremely green (but not even flower filled) field. Harry Nilsson’s ‘Without You’ gives the scene a hysterical twist, but also ties Heinz to nostalgic Generation X memories, as the ketchup family (yes; a family wearing Halloween costumes) tries to contain their excitement with very subtle facial expressions. This commercial really gets funnier every time I watch it. And, because either the (hot)dog or the (human) faces with surrounding Heinz bottle are always in the picture, the brand ensures that the viewer remembers what brand was linked to the funny broadcast, which can’t be said for many others.

A main takeaway here are that the commercial should resonate with your audience, which is more complex with such a big event. It should also be distinguishable to your brand, in between the large number of new and fun campaigns launched in the space of two hours. And lastly, it should fit the mood of the affair. I hope you enjoyed the ones that stood out to me / continue to watch others, because they are such an inspiration to us marketers, and also: it is a pretty fun (semi-responsible) way to procrastinate…

Written by: Susanne ten Brink


Aaker, J.L. (1997). Dimensions of brand personality. Journal of Marketing Research, 34, 347-356

Image Credits:
U.S. Department’s of Agriculture photostream via Flickr CC BY 2.0

By: Kim van der Vliet

Since the origin of social media, companies have tried to incorporate these platforms into their marketing strategies. As the possibilities and options grew and grew, interaction became a key concept of these strategies. Nowadays, when everything and everyone is online, the trick is not really to BE on social media, but to STAND OUT. And some companies have proven to be amazing at doing exactly that. They use the interaction-functions of social media like Facebook or Twitter to their advantage when trying to connect to their public and fellow companies, and they do so in amazing ways.

Some genius examples

There are some companies that have clearly mastered the world of social media. Let’s look at some of these.

We all know the smart cars, right? The genius inventors of a mini-car have clearly also become geniuses when it comes to dealing with nasty costumers on Twitter. Take a look at this:

twitter smart afbeelding

But not only do brands interact with their customers on Facebook, they also interact with one another! You might even call it rivalry sometimes, as in the case of ‘Oreo VS. AMC Theatres’. Oreo – of course – being the amazing chocolate/vanilla/heavenly cookie, AMC Theatres being an American movie theatre chain. Check it out:


This seriously just makes me want to be hired for the marketing of a brand and do exactly THIS all day long. That’s just amazing.

Now, I really REALLY want to give you another example of brands replying on each other’s posts, but this example is in Dutch. So I’ll put a hyperlink right HERE to show all you Dutch readers the way to one conversations that involves Heineken, Douwe Egberts, Lay’s, T-Mobile, Fiat, Eneco, NS, Nikon, Kwik-fit and Kia. I mean, wow. That’s a lot of brands. So check it out if you can, you won’t regret it!

Now a final example to show you that you don’t always have to have an original ‘conversation’ on social media to stand out. You can also stand out by posting incredibly weird and random stuff, as Skittles has shown to be very good at:

skittles1 skittles2 skittles3 skittles4 skittles5 skittles6

I just love these random posts. They don’t make ANY sense AT ALL, but that’s the beauty of it, isn’t it? And even though I’m kind of concerned for the well-being of this Skittles-Facebook-employee, I would really love to follow this brand on Facebook. How awesome would it be to see these completely random remarks in the midst of the tons and tons of selfies on your Facebook newsfeed. I’m sold.

The likeability-factor

I could go on and on about brands being hilarious on social media – believe me, there are sooo sooo many examples. But I just want to emphasize the big marketing-impact such posts can have for these brands. They create a likeability-factor that would be really hard to establish would it not be for social media. As it is with most marketing, social media-marketing is really all about standing out. Plus, it’s fun marketing! At least I think it is, it honestly puts a smile on my face when I read it.

So have you seen another example of brands being awesome on social media? Let me know and leave a comment! I would love to read/see it!