12 Us Vs. Them Ad Examples From Leading eCommerce Brands
August 29, 2023
In the realm of advertising, there are a ton of different tactics you can use to get new sales and boost your company’s bottom line.
But one extra “hot” tactic that we’re seeing eCommerce brands use more and more is known as “us vs. them” advertising.
And for a few good reasons!
For starters, “us vs. them” ads are simply an easy way to come up with great ad content!
They also focus on the bottom of your sales funnel, which means they’re great for converting those indecisive customers.
And, the best part…
Audiences ACTUALLY respond to them!
Below, we’re exploring everything there is to know about “us versus them” advertising, and showing you some real-world examples of just how powerful this unique tactic can be!
What is “us vs. them” advertising?
At its core, “Us Vs. Them” advertising simply refers to a marketing strategy that highlights the difference between two opposing sides.
In other words, it means comparing your products (the Us part), with the products of your direct and indirect competitors (the Them part).
At first glance, this strategy might seem a bit confrontational, since you’ll literally be explaining to your viewers why your products are superior to those of your competitors.
But the idea here is to shine a spotlight on what makes your offer that much better, not just to talk down about your competition.
We should note, also, that “us versus them” marketing isn't only about comparing your products.
The strategy can also be used to showcases weaknesses or pain points in your industry, to highlight change, maybe by exemplifying how a certain behavior will change with a new product, or just by showing the difference between a new and old way of doing things.
Essentially, “us versus them” ads are used to indirectly sell your product, by promising value or some type of positive change to your target audience, without directly saying “buy this!”
Why are “us vs. them” ads so effective for eCommerce brands?
The reason why “us vs. them” ads are so effective is because they’re focused on the bottom of your sales funnel, which consists mainly of people who are already aware of your brand, but who might just need a little nudge in the right direction before making the purchase.
Let’s take a look at a few other reasons why this type of advertising can be so powerful!
Consumer consciousness - Even if a consumer isn’t ready to pull the trigger, by showing them how your product stands up against another product, you can tap into their consciousness, making them WANT to buy your product over the other.
Solving pain points - When you compare two products, you can position your product as the solution to any number of your ideal customer’s pain points.
Highlighting USPs - Every great product has a few unique selling points. So when you compare your products with another similar product, you can highlight those USPs, showing the viewer precisely what makes your product the better choice.
They use known information - Most times, consumers already know there are similar products out there. The idea is to piggyback on this known information, by saying “Yes, you have other options. But here are a few reasons why our product might suit you best!”
The psychology behind “us vs. them” advertising
As you can see, “us vs. them” ads can be very powerful in persuading your viewers to take action.
And this isn’t just some made up marketing theory, there’s some real science behind it!
Let’s take a better look!
Fear of missing out - FOMO
By highlighting the unique benefits of your brand’s products, you can instill a sense of urgency into your customers.
If given the opportunity to buy or to do something that could make your life better, why would you want to miss out on that?
This works wonders, especially when paired with limited-time sales or deals, you’ll be using FOMO, or the fear of missing out, to encourage viewers to take action NOW!
Making the superior choice
By comparing your products to others, and highlighting why they’re better, you can position your products as the superior choice.
You’ll be giving your customers a sense of security, knowing they’re buying a product that’s better than another.
After all, unless you have an ulterior motive, like saving money, nobody really wants to buy an inferior product. Right?
Tapping into consumer desire
There’s all sorts of psychological reasons why people behave the way they do and buy the product they choose.
And yet another great reason why “us vs. them” advertising works is because it speaks to the deeper wants and desires of your audience.
It basically just shows them what they could be getting (your competitor’s product), and then it shows them the better option (your product)!
The advantages of “us vs. them” ads
By now, it should be pretty clear why “us versus them” ads can be such a powerful tool.
But let’s take a minute to review some of the benefits that can be had when using this marketing strategy.
Creating unique ad content - “Us vs. them” ads are often more unique than traditional ads, making them stand out in a sea of similarity.
Easy to create - When designing “us vs. them” ads, you don’t have to look far for inspiration. You just need to compare the unique benefits of your products, and contrast them with the weaknesses you can find in your competitors’.
Buying mindset - Even if a viewer isn’t quite ready to buy a product, when you show them the difference between two similar products, it helps to prepare them for the decision to buy. In other words, an “us vs. them” ad can nudge them in the right direction.
Challenging an idea - By provoking viewers to look at things from two distinct perspectives, “us vs. them” ads can stimulate critical thinking, allowing the consumer to truly decide what product is best for them.
Unique selling points - Every good product has a handful of unique selling points that should make it stand out from a similar product. And by creating “us vs. them ads,” you’ll be highlighting exactly what the product’s USPs are.
Of course, these are just a few of the advantages to “us vs. them” advertising.
But one of the biggest benefits is that you can tailor your “us vs. them” ads to different stages of your sales funnel!
Using “us vs. them” ads at different stages of your sales funnel
In advertising and marketing, the sales funnel is basically the factory floor that turns new audiences, prospects, and leads into your paying customers.
Let’s take a look at how you can use “us vs. them” ads specifically for each stage of your sales funnel.
Top of funnel - Broad
At the top of your sales funnel, you have people who are mostly unaware of your brand and its products or services.
Therefore, at this stage of the journey, this stage needs to be casting a broad net, speaking to a wider variety of potential customers.
Here, you can use your “us vs. them” ads to:
Compare your products (Us) Vs. industry issues
Compare your products (Us) Vs. an overall product category
Compare your products (Us) Vs. an old way of doing things
Middle funnel - Product focus
By the middle of your funnel, most people are already acquainted with your brand and the industry, so they really just need a bit more information about the products that you’re selling.
Therefore, for this stage, you should be using your “us vs. them” ads to:
Compare your products’ benefits Vs. other products’ benefits
Compare your features Vs. other product features
The idea here is to explain things, and show potential customers what they could be getting, without pushing the sale too hard.
Bottom of funnel - Putting your offer in focus
Further down towards the bottom of your funnel, you have people who have all the information they need about solving their problem, they just need to make the decision as to which product to buy.
So here, you should put more of a focus on your offering and why it’s the better choice!
Essentially, you can be a bit more direct in the fact that you’re selling something, using your “us vs. the” ads to:
Compare your brand Vs. direct competitors
Compare your offer Vs. their offer
Compare your results Vs. their results
At this stage, the consumer already knows they’re going to buy something, so your job is just to nurture and nudge them in the right direction. And showing them a great "us vs. them" ad is one of the best ways to do just that!
How to create great “us vs. them” ads
Below, we’ll be diving into 10 real-world examples of “us versus them” ads.
But it’s good to remember there’s a ton of different ways to create such ads, such as:
User-generated content, reviews, ratings and testimonials.
Painting side-by-side comparisons between your products and similar alternatives.
Showing promise and explaining why your product can make life better.
Highlighting the unique selling points of your product.
Highlighting weaknesses in your competitors’ product offering.
12 Examples of “us vs. them” advertisements that REALLY work!
1. Benefits and weaknesses
This ad does a great job by showing the many benefits of what the product has to offer.
But what we really love is the way they’ve contrasted this with the weaknesses of their competitors’ products.
I mean, who wouldn’t want to stay away from something that’s watered down, inconsistent and more than $5 per cup!
Am I right?
2. Promises and social proof
Again, we have an “us vs. them” ad that focuses mostly on the cost difference between two competitive products.
But this advertiser really stepped things up a notch, by including some social proof (more than 8000 Trustpilot reviews), and by promising a 30-day money back guarantee.
After all, if a product is good enough for 8000 other people, it should be good enough for you!
3. Making the smart choice
This next “us vs. them” ad paints a side-by-side comparison of the two products.
Essentially, this is an indirect attack on the competitor’s product.
In the blue corner, you have a probiotic that offers more nutritional value, costs less, is more effective, and can easily be swallowed.
In the red corner, you have an expensive green sludge that tastes bad and that won’t survive the digestive process.
Which one would you choose?
4. Speaking to your target audience
When creating ads for your products, you should always keep the wants, desires, values, and interests of your target audience in mind.
And that’s exactly what this next advertiser did when they created this simple, yet effective “us vs. them” ad.
Not only do they call out all the so-called nasties that are in their competitors’ products.
But they also speak directly to the wants and desires of their target audience by showing the product to be free from fillers and colorants, packed with vitamins and minerals, and that it’s 100% animal and environmentally-friendly.
5. A picture is worth a thousand words
Sometimes, a great “us vs. them” ad can be created just by showing your products next to a similar product.
This ad doesn’t even use any words or copy!
Yet it’s still obvious that they’re trying to show you a product that’s brighter, more colorful, and just all-out funner than the competition.
Essentially, this “us vs. them” ad just hits on a boring product (plain, black helmet) vs. a cool, exciting product.
6. Highlighting a unique selling proposition
It’s important to remember that an “us vs. them” ad doesn’t need to explain EVERYTHING that makes your products different.
Instead of taking a broad focus, this next ad focuses on a single, extremely relatable pain point:
The fact that EVERYBODY hates when milk curdles in their coffee!
The ad speaks directly to a problem, and shows people how to solve it!
This goes back to knowing your target audience, and finding unique selling points that speak directly to their wants and desires.
7. Solving your customer’s pain points
This next ad is simple, and doesn’t just focus on a single competitor. Instead, they focus the comparison on their products versus the skincare industry as a whole.
Essentially, they highlight the weaknesses that can be found in traditional skincare products, and then contrast them against the benefits and superiority of the Omnilux brand.
First, the ad leads with the problems, and then it positions the product as the solution.
8. Letting your viewers decide
This ad literally takes you through the decision-making process, which is a great way to let people decide for themselves which product they prefer.
When it comes to lunch, we all have a few similar things in mind:
Does it have nutrition?
How long does it take to prepare?
How much does it cost?
And by walking you through each of these decisions, the ad lets the viewer see for themselves which product best suits their lifestyle.
9. Pain points and pricing psychology
This next ad chooses a simple pain point: that a lot of instant meals don’t offer much in terms of nutritional value.
It then goes on to explain how much more their product offers in terms of nutrition compared to basic ramen and similar instant meals.
Finally, they also highlight the product’s pricing points into an easy to understand figure of only £2.66 per meal!
Talk about great value!
10. Keeping it simple
This next ad shows two products side-by-side, but keeps things extremely simple and just shows the difference in calories and sugar content.
Again, you don’t always need to highlight each of the unique selling points of your product.
You can often just focus on one or two USPs, and compare them against a competitor to exemplify why your product is superior.
11. Speaking to a lifestyle
We’ve often mentioned how important it is to know your target audience.
And this ad is just another example of why knowing your audience can help you highlight your products in the best way.
By knowing that a lot of their target audience turns to greasy takeout food when dealing with a post-rave hangover, this advertiser was able to paint their product in much prettier colors, positioning it as the solution to the user’s problem.
12. Seeing is believing
Finally, we have another ad that compares a brand’s product to the many weaknesses and downfalls of an entire industry.
Instead of comparing their products only to their competitors, Genusee starts by highlighting a lot of the issues that are commonly found in the eyewear industry.
Then, one at a time, they contrast the benefits of their products, giving the viewer a better understanding of why their products really are the better choice.
The power of “us vs. them” marketing
So there you have it, a full breakdown of “us vs. them” advertising and the many ways you can use it to amp up your next advertising campaign.
In essence, it’s important to remember that this type of advertising isn’t just about bashing your competitor’s products.
It’s about highlighting the unique selling points that your products have to offer, allowing your audience to see for themselves why they should choose you over them!