The increased information in comparative ads should be beneficial to consumers and increase the chances for better decision making, so it is opined. Many researchers have, however, found that comparative advertising that names competitors can lead to greater consumer confusion about which brand is sponsoring the ad (thus creating awareness and preference for the compared-to brand), especially if the ad is being run on TV or radio, where more confusion is likely.
Indeed, the frequent occurrence of such “sponsor misidentification” is one the major criticisms against “direct” comparative advertising (where the comparison brand is explicitly named). It is one reason why many companies prefer to run indirect comparative ads, in which they do not name comparison brands directly but imply them by showing packaging colors or shapes (such as Coke & Pepsi).
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