I remember being told, way back when, never slate the competition in an ad campaign (I still tried it with a KFC campaign, based on them being ‘flattered’ by all of the high-street chicken shops with similar names – didn’t go down well).
The reason for avoiding this is two-fold:
1. It makes a brand look like they’re worried about the competition, and looks a bit desperate.
2. Unless your brand is absolutely faultless, by comparison, then you could end up having to take a lot of flak.
…and so to Outlook. They’ve recently rolled out a campaign based on the fact that they keep the content of your emails private, but Gmail doesn’t:
It’s an interesting thought, but – as I said – you have to be faultless if you’re going to criticise your immediate competitors.
Outlook are not faultless. There were mutterings of teething problems when they changed from being Hotmail. There were long periods where Outlook was ‘down’ and email accounts were inaccessible. Not only this, but the whole layout changed – even the signout button was hard to find initially.
I have a more personal gripe though. Straight off the back of this new Outlook campaign I went to view my emails yesterday, and saw that all of my inbox – bar the last two weeks – had been deleted.
I had emails going back to 2006, many of which I’d kept as they contained important info (or funny virals) I could refer back to. I’d had no warning messages saying, for example, that my inbox was too full and there is no explanation as to why I now only have three pages of emails.
I’ve also found that I can’t always view attachments in Outlook.
I have many other emails accounts (gotta stay one step ahead of Mi5), including two with Gmail: none of these other accounts has self-deleted my emails or stopped me from viewing attachments.
If you want to take the risky route of mentioning your competitors, by all means do so – just make sure you are the very best at what you do, and no-one can argue differently.