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Comparative Advertising and In-Store Displays


  • Greg Shaffer

    () (Simon School of Business, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14627)

  • Florian Zettelmeyer

    () (Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University and National Bureau of Economic Research, Evanston, Illinois 60208)


Manufacturers often have a choice of whether to advertise something positive about their own products without mentioning their rivals' products (a noncomparative ad) or whether to portray their rivals negatively in addition to promoting their own products (a comparative ad). In this paper we ask: First, if a manufacturer in a distribution channel can choose between a comparative ad and a noncomparative ad, all else being equal, which should it choose? Second, under what conditions would a manufacturer want to reinforce its advertising message at the point of sale with in-store displays, and when should the retailer allow the displays? Third, how does the possibility of in-store displays influence the manufacturer's choice of ad content? We find that a manufacturer will prefer to run comparative ads over noncomparative ads for advertising that is untargeted or that appeals primarily to the manufacturer's core consumers, and run noncomparative ads over comparative ads for advertising that appeals primarily to the rival's core consumers. We also find that in-store displays will be optimal for the manufacturer and its retailers if and only if they increase the overall joint profit of the retailer, the manufacturer, and its rival. Finally, we find that the possibility of offering in-store displays increases a manufacturer's incentive to run noncomparative ads. However, some comparative ads may be so attractive to the manufacturer that it will run them with or without retailer help. Our paper is the first to introduce a channel-based explanation for why manufacturers may or may not want to engage in comparative advertising.

Suggested Citation

  • Greg Shaffer & Florian Zettelmeyer, 2009. "Comparative Advertising and In-Store Displays," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 28(6), pages 1144-1156, 11-12.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormksc:v:28:y:2009:i:6:p:1144-1156

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ganesh Iyer, 1998. "Coordinating Channels Under Price and Nonprice Competition," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 17(4), pages 338-355.
    2. S. Chan Choi, 1991. "Price Competition in a Channel Structure with a Common Retailer," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 10(4), pages 271-296.
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    6. Daniel P. O'Brien & Greg Shaffer, 1997. "Nonlinear Supply Contracts, Exclusive Dealing, and Equilibrium Market Foreclosure," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(4), pages 755-785, December.
    7. Rajiv Lal & Chakravarthi Narasimhan, 1996. "The Inverse Relationship Between Manufacturer and Retailer Margins: A Theory," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 15(2), pages 132-151.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mitchell J. Lovett & Ron Shachar, 2011. "The Seeds of Negativity: Knowledge and Money," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(3), pages 430-446, 05-06.
    2. Chih-Jen Wang & Ying-Ju Chen & Chi-Cheng Wu, 2011. "Advertising competition and industry channel structure," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 79-99, March.
    3. Jason C. Patalinghug, 2013. "The Effect of Advertising and In-Store Promotion on the Demand for Chocolate," Working Papers 21, University of Connecticut, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Charles J. Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy.
    4. Viscolani, Bruno, 2012. "Pure-strategy Nash equilibria in an advertising game with interference," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 216(3), pages 605-612.


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