Negative advertising is a type of advertising that focuses on competitors’ weaknesses and is presented in the form of speeches, commercials, interviews, articles, etc. It involves spreading negative facts about someone, deteriorating their reputation, and disqualifying them in the eyes of buyers.

In this article, we’ll make the difference between positive and negative advertising clear and review the effects of negative advertising.

Positive vs. negative advertising

Positive advertising is used by companies to communicate good messages about their products and services. According to WordStream, 45% of ads contain positive messages because they help evoke good emotions in customers, attract more leads, and boost sales.

Let’s take the “Real Beauty” campaign by Dove. The famous brand highlighted the problem of women being expected to be perfect and tried to convey the idea that all women are beautiful.

Negative advertising is used to describe the weaknesses of competitors. It helps companies show products and services at their best while demonstrating the disadvantages of competitors’ alternatives and spreading negative information to disqualify these brands. As a result, customer trust, competitors’ values, behavior, and respect might be shaken. Since the values and priorities of target audiences can be different, negative advertising pays attention to the current values of the people it addresses.

Let’s take Apple, for instance. “Get a Mac” campaign demonstrated the disadvantages of Microsoft’s operating systems and is an excellent example of negative advertising.

Now that you know the difference, let’s proceed to the effects of this type of advertising.

Effects of negative advertising

The key aim of negative advertising is to communicate the intended message about a competitor and affect their customers’ purchasing behavior. It can result in the decrease of your rival’s sales volume, negatively influence their reputation and trust, and evoke concerns about whether to continue purchasing from this particular brand. By describing competitors’ weaknesses, companies try to show their merits and explain how exactly they are better and why customers should choose them.

Simply put, companies can find various approaches to appeal to their audience, and some of them prefer negative advertising. By shedding light on a rival’s flaws, a certain brand expects to undermine their reputation, boost sales, and make customers choose this company rather than its competitor.

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