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How to create a video with a competitive edge

/ Max Thorpe

Some might call it having a head start. Others might call it having the other team’s playbook. But what really is a competitive edge? Bill Gates defines it as the knowledge derived from information. The Cambridge English dictionary describes it as having a lower overhead than your competitors. When it comes to video, how can you have a competitive edge? Here are three big brands’ takes on upping their own competitive edge.


Timeliness + cleverness = success
The BMW vs. Mercedes-Benz competition is timeless, and goes back over 100 years. Both automotive giants have had their fair share of playful ads calling out one another. In this case, BMW’s tribute to the retiring CEO of Mercedes-Benz, Dieter Zetsche, did not fall short. This sentimental yet whimsical video ad thanks Zetsche for the many years of competition, playfully hinting at his newly discovered “freedom” as he drives off in a BMW.

BMW nailed the timing of this commercial with the exit of Mercedes’ CEO. The ad is cheeky enough to give the audience a good chuckle, while still respecting Mercedes-Benz during this bittersweet moment. It goes to show that if you’re going to call out a competitor, it doesn’t need to be an aggressive or dismissive comparison. 

The takeaway: Know your audience. As global luxury brands, BMW and Mercedes always strike a refined tone befitting of their brands, tastefully touting their competitive edge. Second, be conscious of current events. While getting more eyes on your ad is generally the goal for video ads, bad publicity can hurt your brand just as quickly. 


Fake it till you make it
What do you do when one of your top competitors is chosen as the official sponsor of one of the most widely watched sports events in the world? Act like your brand was chosen, too. That’s exactly what Nike did for both the Men’s and Women’s World Cup events for the past few tournaments. Adidas has been the World Cup official sponsor since 1970, and will be until 2030. This means that the Adidas logo appears throughout different stadium advertisements and on the official game ball. However, Nike has made notable efforts to change that, tightening the race considerably after this year’s (2019) Women’s World Cup. 

While the game ball is off-limits, the players are not. Despite not being the official sponsor, Nike certainly seems like it is. By sponsoring individual players and getting brand exposure through the athletes’ footwear, Nike made it hard to watch a game without seeing their branding. It’s their ads, though, that significantly boost their competitive edge. 

By grouping some of the top female soccer players from around the world in a commercial playing in what is seemingly the World Cup, Nike gives the illusion of being the official sponsor without ever mentioning the World Cup event name. By following the commercial through the eyes of the teenage girl aspiring to play at the professional level, Nike instills the feeling of empowerment and inspiration. The commercial ends with, “Don’t change your dream. Change the world.” Powerful. 

The takeaway: Think outside the box to get past barriers. Adidas undoubtedly has a competitive edge in the soccer market as the official sponsor, yet from an outside perspective watching the game, you’d hardly know it. Second, Nike succeeds in making the ad about a core brand value, instead of focusing on a specific product.


Taking the high road
You can’t talk about having a competitive edge without mentioning arguably one of the biggest brand battles of all time: Coke versus Pepsi. With a rivalry that dates back over a century, the cola wars are a reminder that if you’re going to publicly call out a competitor, be prepared for the long haul. 

Coca-Cola launched 12 years before Pepsi in 1886, holding the higher market share for quite some time until 1975 when Pepsi commercialized its blind taste test: the “Pepsi Challenge”. Through a turn of events, Pepsi seemingly emerged as the winner. Since then we’ve seen the two beverage giants duke it out on the big screen during the Super Bowl, and this year was no different. Pepsi aired a commercial starring Steve Carrell, who challenges diners in a restaurant to rethink their default Coke choice.

Coke, on the other hand, went a different direction with a wholesome, Warhol-inspired ad highlighting how Coke brings people together. The commercial shows a diverse group of people all enjoying the same soft drink. The tagline: “Different is beautiful, and together is beautiful too.” In a world filled with conflicting views, Coca-Cola reminds us that we can look past our differences and enjoy the little things. 

The takeaway: Connect with your audience's emotions. Align your brand with a set of core values and do your best to exhibit them in your messaging. Just like Nike, Coca-Cola’s ad resonates well by aligning with a principle and, most importantly, a feeling.

These three brands are just a few of the many different companies leveraging video to create a competitive advantage. While there’s no perfect formula for gaining the upper hand over your competition, the brands that stand out have some things in common. Their commercials are timely, relevant to current events, and evict emotion. Lastly, they’re all using video. Getting started with video is easy if you have the right tools--even if you don’t have prior video experience. Find out how you can get started with WeVideo today.