Trick or Treat: Bring out the troll in you

With just couple of hours to go before people dress up to trick or treat for Halloween, one thing that comes to mind is the Pepsi versus Coca Cola war.

So, what is new between the two cola giants taking on each other, which they have been doing for years now? Well, it is the response which the campaign by Pepsi generated.

Last year, Pepsi released a campaign during Halloween wherein a Pepsi can wore a red cape with “Cola Coca” written on it and with a tagline saying, “Have a scary Halloween”. Of course, the campaign went viral, but what was more interesting was the response from one of the avid Coca Cola fan.

The new tagline read, “Eveybody wants to be a superhero”, hinting that the red cape was that of the Superman.

Ambush advertising is nothing new, but it takes a lot of wit and guts for the players to take a jab at each other and take it in their stride as well. And not to forget, to make it worth a while for the costumers as well.

The objectives of ambush marketing are twofold: to get maximum returns on the marketing buck and to undermine the branding efforts of the rivals by stealing the attention, increasing the clutter and confusing the viewers.

Who can forget the Pepsi's 'Nothing official about it' campaign during the 1996 cricket World Cup that introduced the concept of ambush marketing in India. takes a look at a few memorable advertising wars between brands in India.

Kingfisher vs. Jet Airways

In April 2007, Jet Airways had an image makeover and had released an outdoor campaign that stated, ‘We have changed.’ Soon, Kingfisher placed a hoarding above that which read, ‘We made them change’.

Samsung vs. Nokia

It was in 2012, in a packed theatre in New Delhi, as scores of excited movie buffs sat to watch an exclusive premier of SRK-starrer Ra.One for mobile phone maker Nokia's premium users at PVR Select City Walk mall, what took everyone by surprise were the advertisements that had been running for the previous few minutes were of Samsung mobile.

HUL vs. P&G

Hindustan Unilever’s shampoo brand “Dove” and Procter & Gamble’s shampoo brand “Pantene” caught it out in 2010. P&G launched its intriguing ad campaign for Pantene with the tagline “A mystery shampoo. Eighty per cent women said it is better than anything else.” A few days later and before P&G could announce the launch the new Pantene, Hindustan Unilever ambushed the campaign by placing an adjacent hoarding with the tagline “There is no mystery. Dove is the No. 1 shampoo.”

The Hindu vs. Times of India

For its Chennai edition, Times of India in late 2011, launched a ‘Wake Up!' campaign, provoking the readers (mainly targeted at Chennai readers) to shift from the newspaper that puts them to sleep with its boring and dreary news (indirectly pointing out at the Hindu). Soon afterwards, The Hindu hit back with the tag line ‘Stay Ahead of the Times', telling the readers to move out of the Bollywood and Page 3 gossips and take up the news that is relevant to current affairs of the country and the world.

Flipkart vs. Snapdeal

 The latest to enter the bandwagon is none other than the highly-competitive e-commerce sector. On 6 October, Flipkart announced its ‘The Big Billion Sale’ as a jacket ad in the Times of India, announcing, 'Today Don't Look Anywhere Else, India's Greatest Ever Sale is here'. But the thunder was stolen on the page immediately following with a Snapdeal ad announcing, 'For Others it is a Big Day. For us, today is no different'.

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