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Brand marketing showdowns: Brave and unashamed

From new social media platforms to shifting audience demographics. The modern world of brand marketing is constantly changing. So much so, that 80% of surveyed marketers said the industry had changed more since 2020 than in the previous 50 years.

In the same group, 16% said increased competition from other brands was their main challenge. Keeping up with trends and adapting their approach to world events was a major issue that 17% of marketers reported needing to overcome.

In this highly competitive, fast-paced modern marketing world, what is the most effective strategy to take? Dynamic brand marketing showdown strategies are one potential answer.


What is a brand marketing showdown strategy?

Brand marketing showdown strategies involve taking an approach that is direct, attacking or, in some cases, aggressive. These efforts can be targeted at market competitors, customer prospects or a brand’s own weaknesses.

There are four main types of brand marketing showdown strategies:

– Defensive: when market leaders look to protect their position at the top of the tree by actively addressing their own weaknesses and blocking out rising competition

– Offensive: where a brand targets competitors at the top of the market by identifying their weak points (such as gaps in product offering) and manoeuvring to take advantage of them

– Guerilla: this is one of the most dynamic and creative approaches. Well suited to small businesses, it involves quickly identifying niches and communicating points of difference with high-impact campaigns

– Flanking: here, brands identify a market segment competitors aren’t serving and put a long-term plan in place to capture it.

The strategic approach a brand takes will depend on its particular position in the market and the types of prospects it’s targeting. The size of a business and its marketing resources will also make some approaches more achievable than others.


Do brand showdown strategies work?

More subtle forms of brand marketing have recently grown in popularity. Inbound content, influencer campaigns and digital customer experiences are just a few examples. All have their place in the marketing mix, as do more aggressive strategies like brand showdowns.

Benefits of brand showdowns:

If done effectively, taking a brand marketing showdown approach can deliver results very quickly, including:

– Competitive advantage: these strategies are built around attacking a brand or its competitor’s weak points or market gaps. This immediately puts brands a step ahead in their communications

– Brand recognition: whether it’s through creativity, by expanding its range of products or by better meeting the needs of a target market. An aggressive approach helps brands break out from the rest of the crowd

– Agile approach: by directly tapping into niches, market gaps or competitor weak points, a brand showdown approach helps brands constantly adapt to the dynamism of the modern market.


Challenges of brand showdowns:

In business as in life, making a direct attack isn’t always the answer. If a brand marketing showdown approach is taken and not thoroughly thought through, it can disadvantage businesses by:

– Off-putting prospects: certain types of audiences might not be as receptive to this marketing approach. For example, younger demographics find direct marketing tactics less appealing, with 84% of millennials saying that it led them to leave a website

– High-risk factor: your competitors may return fire. Your Guerilla campaign efforts might not deliver great results. Your strategy may lose focus. Brand marketing showdowns carry lots of risk for the business if not thought through carefully

– Skills and resources: thinking deeply about competitor weak points and how to target them takes significant time and input. This requires dedicating marketing teams time to ensure it is done effectively and thoroughly – time that may or may not be successful.


Clever brand marketing showdowns

Even if you’re certain a brand marketing showdown strategy is the right approach for your business, deploying one can be nerve-wracking and takes bravery. Below are some big brand examples who took on this strategy with creative executions that captivated the audience, whilst cleverly belittling their competitor brands.


Guinness’ “Made of More”

As a leader in the market, Guinness’ “Made of More” campaign went on the defensive by reinforcing the values and iconic individual status of the brand. Though the business has a global footprint, it was facing competition from various growing consumer trends. In response, Guinness launched the powerfully evocative campaign that emphasises individuality and boldness – an intended reflection of the brands product to the consumer mindset.



Guinness doubled down on its “Made of More” positioning with every iteration of the campaign series, creating stronger connections to culture that brought the platform to life in new and bold ways across the media mix, genuinely resonating with its audience.

Ultimately, the bolder work paid dividends with the brands on-trade value share growing 8% in GB and an estimated £4.13 profit returned for every £1 invested.


Dominos’ “Official Food of Everything”

Dominos’ set its eyes on being the top of the pizza delivery market and went after it, hard.

The ‘Official Food of Everything’ campaign broke down customer perspectives of when it’s appropriate to order pizza. With an aggressive targeting of younger demographics via social media, the brand launched the campaign encapsulating a broad range of day-to-day life topics – heightening its appeal to a wide demographic of audiences.




By opening up the campaign to a wide reaching target audience, Domino’s unashamedly aimed to attract the customer from all of its competitor brands.

Across New Year’s Eve and Day 2018, the campaign’s first major activation achieved around six million social media impressions. This increased sales by 6.1% and 5.5% on the respective days. The campaign has continued to drive growth and, in 2023, Dominos’ share of the UK takeaway market grew from 6.4% to 7.8% in the same quarter, year on year.


Should you start a brand showdown or not?

Careful consideration should be taken before businesses take a brand marketing showdown approach. This includes thinking about:

Whether a more aggressive marketing style fits with your brand, its tone of voice and values

If you’re in a market position that warrants this type of approach, for example, a market leader or small business that can target a niche

If you’re prepared to take the risk of your strategy not paying off or your competitors retargeting you.

Our team of Marketing Specialists can help you identify, build and deliver the marketing strategies that will work most effectively for your business. Whether that includes a brand showdown or not.

For an informal chat, call us on 01926 754038 or, drop us an email at and one of our team will give you a call.

Alternatively, if you want to learn more about our Consultancy process when working with clients, click here


Looking to realign, refresh or redevelop your brand or business marketing strategy? Send us an email at or, give us a call direct on 01926 754038 for an informal chat.