Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Negative Marketing

Key Takeaways:

  • How negative marketing is worked in such a way that it makes and positive impact on their future potential customers.
  • Rivals’ brands use this strategy to attack their competitor’s product, to create a buzz in the market.
  • Brands portray negative impressions or experience what other customers feel to make a connection to the customer to use their product or service.
  • How brands create and make their negative marketing strategy how at every level they make such an impression that their negative marketing is turned to have a positive side for the customer.

While walking down the road, when you see a poster of McDonald and Burger King targeting each other’s products that who is the better one, or when you see an ad targeting a struggle that is relatable to your life, at that time have you ever thought which type of marketing they are trying to do by targeting their competitor’s products or service. They are practicing a different type of marketing which is known as “Negative Marketing’. To know more about different marketing techniques, click here

Nowadays marketers and their marketing techniques have become very smarter, the brand uses different types of marketing techniques where they highlight struggles or problems of their potential customers which has some negative impact in their life or about the problems, they are tired of it. So, brands make advertisements that make it relatable to their customers, through these advertisements they show that they are providing the same kind of product or service for their problems through Negative Marketing.

They also do another type of promotion where they display the USP of their product. But nowadays there are competitors for every product in the market. So, when they show the customers their struggles and how their product is superior to their competitor’s product by showing the competitor’s product in a bad light this type of marketing is referred to as Negative Marketing.

Let’s look at an example to understand clearly how this type of marketing works.

BMW and Audi have always been a rival of each other. they have an amazing ad war between them. Audi has put up a poster where they are criticizing the BMW logo with a chessboard and in their poster, it is written “Chess? No thanks, I’d rather be driving”. They showed that they are better at providing customers with a better driving experience than BMW. BMW gave a reply with a poster where they pulled a photo of their new car BMW Z4 and in that poster, they said “Checkmate.” where their car was a sports car. So, to give a reply to BMW, Audi put out a new poster with their sports car called Audi R8 and in that poster, they said, “Your pawn is no match for our king.”

In the above example, you can see how Audi has done Negative Marketing to make their potential customers understand how they are superior to BMW. It helps them attract their potential customer and make them understand how they are superior to their competitor’s product by putting them in a bad light. Sometimes people enjoy such rivalry of brands. Negative marketing helps the brands to create more buzz and grab customer attention. Brands target their potential customers when they start talking about the product from the buzz brand has created and they start to take interest. while the brand claims that its product is superior to its competitors. This is one of the ways how negative marketing is used by brands.

Nowadays brands are doing Negative marketing campaigns which are extremely relatable to their potential customers’ lives, they look at our problems and make their marketing techniques according to them. To understand more clearly let’s look at another example

Swiggy being a Food Delivery app, they have an advertisement where “Swiggy Karo, Phir jo Chae Karo”. Here you can have a look at how swiggy tell in their video advertisement  Video Link [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJvePl0aTys ] that they wanted to say that in a household, how family members have different choices of food to eat, it’s very difficult to make different food for each member of the family. Swiggy through negative marketing shows how everyone is disappointed because food is not being prepared of their choice. but through swiggy, everyone can order food of their choice. Here swiggy has shown the problems related to households and how their customer are troubled for not getting food of their choice. Through negative marketing it helped to connect the customers to their daily life problems and swiggy is helping them to solve their problems through their food delivery application.

So now marketing is not only limited to only showing how good everyone’s life is, but also about connecting to their potential customer differently. In this what problem they face, and they are tired of them. So Swiggy has used Negative marketing in such a positive way that it helps to attract more customers and build a brand image to increase more sales and attract market attention.

Now we have understood what negative marketing is, well in this marketing “negative” word is used. Why do companies use this type of method of marketing to promote their method?

Well answer to this question is that companies use Negative marketing when they are well established and have credible loyal customers like in that example of BMW and Audi criticizing someone’s products may look bad to their image. But the companies know they have some set of loyal customer base who won’t leave while the brand practice this type of marketing. To make a unique way of promotion of their product they take risk in this type of marketing it helps them to seek the attention that helps them, although unfairly to lure some consumers into purchasing their products and services.

In the above article, we have now understood what negative marketing is, how companies are using and why are they using it. But let’s now look at how this strategy helps the brand to create a positive side through negative marketing.

When you make an Advertisement or Poster which has some negative item, or through which your customer can be attracted to your product, the brands make such marketing advertisement where it touches, the customer emotions and they are filled up with rage, like in swiggy how the ads make you emotions about the household problems and fill you with rage inside you. It helps the brands to divert their customer’s attention from their competitors. If your advertisement touches or makes them think about the advertisement like in BMW and Audi example when a customer sees the poster, they will think why Audi did this, if they are saying or criticizing BMW, they can be good. So negative marketing helps their target customer to think about the ad as it would leave an impact on their mind. And if the ads have touched or gained some attention it helps to gain publicity fast, nowadays everything goes viral on social media so quickly that people would be more eager to use your product or even start looking at your product.

Now let us understand how brands make a positive image or attract their potential customer through negative marketing and how they create unique types of strategies to make an impact on their customer.

  • Sometimes brands make fun of themselves, sometimes some self-depreciation can be fun to others, it feels more human where you accept your own mistakes. Brands show their mistakes which helps the customer to build with the brand, and it shows that we should learn from mistakes and make a better quality of the product. So, showing your mistakes helps t create a buzz and a positive image that the brand is not hiding but also talking about their mistakes.
  • To attract more customers brands nowadays create negative headlines or titles in the campaign where they say for example “Something you shouldn’t do or things to avoid in your daily life” here human mind is attracted or hardwired to negative things, they are eager to know what they are doing wrong. It creates major buzz around your product as the brand stated some negative things, and the product is solving the problem created by negative things. Moreover, people tend to remember more negative things than positive things and they make customers feel the problem with their negative headline or the negative title that will help the customer to stick around the brand.
  • One of the oldest and most practiced ways of Negative marketing is to make fun of your competitors. In the above article, we have seen how Audi has made fun of BMW over posters where they are mocking each other, so through this strategy, they create a buzz around with their product or brand name and let their customer think and let that poster revolve around their head, so the customer takes interest in the product. It is a tricky and risky process where you could lose your image but the brands who use this type of marketing strategy have a well-established brand and brand loyalty among the customers.
  • Brands have a very smart way of connecting through their customer where they bond over their Bad or Negative experiences of their customer. Let take an example where how every Tyre manufacturer advertises their product with how you felt with your last tires the comfort you never had with them and with what you are tired of it. Here the customer makes a connection through the experience that they had before with them, so it helps to make a very good bond or connection through the bad experience which the customer had.

We came far and have understood what negative marketing is and understood how it works. To make it more clear and make it more relatable let’s look at a few more examples and see how brands use this type of strategy to attract their potential customers.

1.Coca Cola and Pepsi:

Coco-Cola and Pepsi have been having their ad wars for a very long time they always showcase their competition in a very healthy way and don’t go aggressive against each other. They always find a way to poke each other in any way. For more information visit here where you can see how Pepsi has shown that the kid uses many Coca-Cola cans just to climb up to the top of the vending machine to get a Pepsi Can. In this, you can understand how Pepsi showed to their customers that the product is superior and better than coke through this marketing strategy.

2.Harpic- The Harpic Challenge:

You might be thinking about how harpic is doing in negative marketing, but above you would remember how we have talked about how the brands relate to our problem or some bad experience we have suffered. In the harpic advertisement, they tell that how their product will clean the bathroom in 30 seconds ad [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIU5NzXIspA ] and make your bathroom look as new. Here they used negative marketing where they connected with the customer’s bad experience how competitor’s products have failed before to clean their bathroom. This strategy helped Harpic a lot to create attention among the buyers where the potential customer would be eager to know and use to their product in future.

3.Apple and Samsung:

Most of us have used the products of both Samsung and Apple in our life, Samsung has been doing some negative marketing where it is targeting Apple products to show how superior and better their product is. Here you look at the video [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8AmkizQ39s ]. Here in this ad, you can see how Samsung has shown in their advertisement that the Apple user has been changing his/her phone again and again, how the person next to them has always had more features, battery, water-resistance, and hassle-free usage which Samsung phone has. It was directly attacking apple that how their product is inferior to their product and how they would give more features than Apple every time with S Pen, wireless charging, and whatnot. Now here this type of negative marketing is used to target and attack their competitor’s product.

4.Star Sports:

Being a sports channel “Star Sports”, they have done such marketing where it gave a positive view to their negative marketing which conveyed a message in their ad [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxno0yjLW9c ] how if your television doesn’t have Star Sports you won’t enjoy sports no matter how big your television is. Star Sports used negative marketing in such a way it made a very positive impact on their potential customers to subscribe to their channel to have an amazing experience on their television.

For more such examples, pls follow our social media platform.


We can conclude how the brands use a different type of strategy to make a connection with the customer and have a buzz around the market to let people have an impression of how the brands are working every day to make a strong and lasting impression among their customers.


Aditya Mathur​

Content writer

Oshi Jain

Graphic designer

Akshit Mittal


15 thoughts on “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Negative Marketing”

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