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"Genesis does what Nintendon't!"

Advertising can be hard. When one is trying to market their product, they usually have to refrain from directly mentioning their competitors, as doing so would be seen as an attack (and in some cases may result in legal action getting the ad removed). However, there are those who do so in an attempt to put them down and gain a foothold on the market.

Sometimes this can be a double-sided battle, in the case of the famous Cola Wars between Pepsi and Coca-Cola. Other times, it can be one-sided, boosting one's popularity (in the case of the Sega Genesis) or ruining its reputation (in the case of the Atari Jaguar). The fandom will often latch onto these potshots as reasoning to create a Fandom Rivalry between the two products, creating a feedback loop where the commercials appeal to the fans by mocking the competitors more. Some famous instances of this are the Computer Wars and the Console Wars.

Contrast Advertising by Association. Compare Strawman Product, a more misleading version of this trope. Subtrope of Take That!. Supertrope to Cable/Satellite Mudslinging and Attack of the Political Ad. See also Damned By a Fool's Praise if users of the competing product are depicted as idiots, jerks, and creeps.

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Examples from Advertising

    Clothing, Accessories, and Footwear 
  • After basketball player Zion Williamson had his Nike shoes split apart during a game, leading to an injury that likely cost his team the win, two competing sneaker brands took potshots at Nike:
    • Skechers posted a picture of a torn shoe with the caption "Just Blew It," playing off Nike's famous "Just Do It" slogan. They added a tagline, "Skechers: We won't split on you."
    • The Twitter account for Puma Hoops posted a tweet after the game saying, "Wouldn't have happened in the Pumas." However, they deleted this shortly after.

    Computers and Smart Devices 
  • Apple often makes commercials mocking its competitors, especially Microsoft Windows.
    • The famous Super Bowl Nineteen Eighty-Four commercial that heralded the first Apple Macintosh, was meant to portray then-dominant IBM as the manipulative, monopolistic Big Brother.
    • In the mid-'90s, there was an ad with a shot zooming out to show two computers side by side: one with the Mac OS starting screen, the other with the Win95 startup screen. "Although watching them run side by side is not terribly special," cue the computer chassis beneath the Win95 screen being pulled away to reveal both monitors hooked to the Mac, "Watching them run from one computer is." promoting the model of Quadra with a PC's core on a daughterboard allowing a single machine to run both platforms at once.
    • The Get a Mac campaign anthropomorphizes the Mac and PC, depicting the Mac as a hip student able to perform exceedingly well and the PC as a stuffy loser who tries and fails to compete with the Mac. It presented the PC as outdated and overworking, while Mac was more versatile and secure.
    • One ad produced around the time of Windows 95's release noted in a humorous manner that the Mac had for years had a Trash feature similar to Windows' new Recycle Bin.
    • Apple ran newspaper ads that simply said "C:ONGRTLNS.W95" as a dig at Windows' DOS system.
    • Apple touted the OS X Tiger with an ad reading, "Redmond, start your photocopiers." Redmond, Washington is the location of Microsoft HQ.
    • When Apple switched from Power PC processors to Intel x86, there were ads that asked, "What's an Intel processor doing in a Mac? Far more than it could do in a PC."
    • When Apple's iPhone 4 was found to have a major design flaw in its exposed antenna, Steve Jobs admitted there might be a problem: by imitating the problem in its competitor's phones.
  • Very rarely has Microsoft ever directly responded to Apple ads (the implication is supposed to be that Apple is beneath their notice) but they have done a couple:
    • Microsoft has fought back against Apple by making "I'm a PC" ads showing satisfied customers. It worked well enough that MS is doing this even in ads not mentioning its competitor.
    • "Congratulations, it's a PC": Take an average-looking person, have them set goals and a price limit, and send them shopping with the promise that if they find the computer they need, they'll buy it for them. Every time the Macs get panned on their high price.
    • Microsoft ran an ad with a Surface and an iPad side by side, in which the voice of the iPhone's personal assistant, Siri, was used to disparage the former: "I don't update my apps like that", "I guess I can't multitask" and, finally "But I can play 'Chopsticks'." After Apple released the iPad Pro with a keyboard attached, another ad played with Windows personal assistant Cortana on the Surface Tablet. Cortana reminds Siri that she is still limited by a tablet processor and the portable operating system instead of the desktop version, so she can't run desktop apps like Microsoft Office, and that the iPad also does not have a track pad or external ports to add on devices.
    • Whoever designed the Windows Phone advertisement (which shows patrons at a wedding capturing the proceedings on iPhones and Galaxies) must've been fed up with the in-fighting between Apple and Samsung and wanted to expose their silly ideas for competing (including their ongoing lawsuits) as an advertising allegory that portrays such corporate warmongering as a physical brawl in which Apple and Samsung fanboys and fangirls make complete arses of themselves in front of a waiter and a waitress who are capturing the whole thing with their Nokia Lumias. Or they could have just been advertising the high resolution of the Lumia's camera...
    • Two ads for the Microsoft Surface Tablet PC:
      • One ad shows that it has a docking keyboard, plus USB, display port, and a touchscreen. The guy with the Apple Macintosh laptop shown side-by-side with it is shocked to discover the Surface "runs full Adobe Photoshop," has the same quad-core processor as the Mac, plus has a kickstand so you can have it standing up even if a keyboard isn't attached. So the guy with the Apple says, "So you're saying it's more powerful than my Mac?" and the guy with the Surface says, "Well, technically you said it." Note that since the original statement is a question, Microsoft never really claims the Surface is more powerful than the Mac.
      • Another ad shows how the Surface has a keyboard (which the other guy's laptop has, but isn't detachable), has a touchscreen (which the other guy has to use a tablet), and you can write notes on it with a pen (probably a stylus) and the other guy says he can do the same thing with a pad of paper and a pen, thus showing the guy with the Surface has one thing to carry while the other guy has five, so the guy with the Surface says, "You are more powerful than you think."
  • Novell ran a series of ads in response to Apple's "Get a Mac" campaign which start off looking like Mac vs Windows, but then introduce Linux as superior to both.
  • After being named the most environmentally friendly computer manufacturer, Dell ran a series of ads aimed at college students touting this fact with the slogan "Don't let your green get white-washed," alluding to Apple's association with the color white.
  • Samsung:
    • Samsung responded to the release of the iPhone 5 with an ad for the Galaxy S-III headed "It doesn't take a genius".note 
    • One of Samsung's ads for the Galaxy S5 took a jab at iPhones' smaller batteries by showing S5 users who can get by with swapping their batteries out or using ultra-power saving mode, while iPhone users are left huddling around the electric outlets recharging their phones.
    • This fall 2017 ad for the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note 8 was timed to coincide with the release of the iPhone X. It is Samsung's way of boasting that they're many steps ahead of Apple in the smartphone technology race. A guy gets the original iPhone, and at one point tries to take a picture of his car only to be told he doesn't have enough storage space. In 2013, he then meets a girl who owns a Galaxy Note 5. In 2016, they both slip and fall off a pier and get their phones wet. The girl's Galaxy S7 Edge is fine, but the boyfriend has to put his iPhone 6 into a petri dish of rice. The boyfriend upgrades to the iPhone 7, but because there's no headphone jack, he must use a special dongle to listen to music and charge his phone simultaneously, compared to the girlfriend, who's just charging her Galaxy S8 on a convertible wireless charging stand. So the boyfriend decides not to wait in line for the iPhone X and instead settles for purchasing a Galaxy Note 8. As he walks past an Apple Store, he briefly glances at one man in line who has a haircut imitating the "notch" on the iPhone Xnote .
    • In 2023, Samsung does it again, but this time, they mocked Apple for not releasing a foldable phone and holding back on more megapixels on iPhone's camera.
  • A Google Photos ad features people trying to capture pictures of increasingly significant things (such as skydiving, tornadoes, and Bigfoot), but an Apple pop-up comes up (with the accompanying sound) saying storage is full. This is to promote how Google allows the ability to free up space in the moment.
  • Back in The '80s, when commercial UNIX was in its infancy, a vendor called "MT XINU" (which is "UNIX™" spelled backwards), published this poster depicting a 4.2 BSD-powered X-Wing speeding away from an AT&T logo writhed in flames, with the Tagline "4.2 > V." longer explanation 
  • Discord used to advertise itself to potential users by encouraging them to "ditch Skype & TeamSpeak".
  • A web ad for Firefox depicts the Google Chrome logo as an eerie webcam with the caption "BIG BROWSER IS WATCHING," touting Firefox as a secure browser while accusing Google of hoarding and selling user information.
  • Search engine DuckDuckGo mostly advertises itself as a more secure alternative to Google. One ad anthropomorphizes Google as a stalker who watches over your shoulder as you browse the internet, singing a parody of "Every Breath You Take."
  • When Apple moved their Macs from Intel processors to their own ARM-based processors, Intel felt betrayed and launched campaigns against M1 Macs.
  • Snapchat's 2024 Super Bowl spot was all about how Snapchat is allegedly a more authentic alternative to social media, complete with a tie-in website.

  • An ad for Winnie the Pooh, which opened the same day as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, featured Pooh finding four letter blocks that spell "POTR", which he then rearranges to spell "POOH".
  • Godzilla (1998) had a jab at Jurassic Park in its first teaser trailer. It opens with a tour guide at a museum pointing out a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton and telling the visitors how it was the largest and mightiest predator to walk on land. During his speech, ominous booming sounds can be heard getting louder — and then Zilla's Giant Foot of Stomping comes down through the museum's ceiling and crushes the T. rex skeleton.
  • An series of posters for Child's Play (2019) depicted Chucky murdering the characters from the Toy Story franchise, since Toy Story 4 was coming out around the same time. Another poster from the release of Annabelle Comes Home depicted the headless corpse of Annabelle with a knife down her neck and Chucky looking in the glass at his handiwork.
  • The teaser trailer for Birds of Prey (2020) has a bunch of red balloons (as seen in It (2017)) fill the screen, before Harley smashes them with her mallet, declaring, "I'm so fuckin' over clowns." This teaser came out during the hype for not just the sequel to the aforementioned It (and was released to play before screenings of said sequel), but for Joker (2019), which was made by the same studio about the character Harley is clearly referencing.
  • Subverted by the teaser for Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, which opens on a bait & switch aimed at the competing Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, but then jokingly tells viewers that if they watch only one movie this year... Go see Star Wars. But if they see TWO movies this year, make the other one Austin Powers.
  • Jamie Lee Curtis promoted Everything Everywhere All at Once by taking potshots at Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on Instagram, quoting negative reviews of Doctor Strange and bragging about Everything Everywhere having a lower budget but still doing well.

    Financial Services 
  • VISA took the rather extreme tactic of making entire commercials for real-life vacation resorts and such, then noting at the end that said location doesn't accept American Express, so be sure to bring your VISA card instead.
  • American Express:
    • American Express responded to the VISA ads with a series of commercials featuring a traveler going to various exotic locales and being told that they don't take VISA, to which he responded with an indignant shout of: "But this is where I want to be!" Particularly odd given that American Express hardly works anywhere outside of North America while Visa does (though American Express started a push in Europe and it now works in about 25% of stores).
    • American Express also took potshots at Capital One's customizable credit cards. In the commercial, a business owner is hosting a dinner with his foreign clients. When he pays the bill with his "custom made" credit card with a comic book character on it, his clients all laugh at him and leave. It's implied that they probably don't do business with him anymore. Another American Express commercial has a man trying to buy a plane ticket. Everything is going well until he pulls out his credit card... And it has a kitten on it. He is then led away by airport security, presumably to be cavity searched.
  • Esurance:
    • One commercial narrated by John Krasinski states that Esurance didn't need a mascot to sell insurance. Definitely a Take That! to rivals Geico (the gecko), Progressive (Flo), and Aflac (the duck); but also one for themselves — up until a few years ago, they had a popular mascot of their own named Erin Esurance that they're hoping you'll forget.
    • Another campaign notes the ridiculous of customers getting a quote within 15 minutes from a certain unnamed competitor when they could get one within just 7 1/2 minutes from Esurance.
  • In some Allstate commercials, the "Mayhem" mascot remarked, "If you've got 15-minute auto insurance/you're naming your price on car insurance, you could be paying for this yourself — So get Allstate," mocking either GEICO or Progressive respectively.
  • A sign above an auto insurance company took a shot at GEICO's ad campaigns with the text, "No lizards. No cavemen. Just great service."

    Food and Drink 
  • Over the years, Burger King has aired several commercials that insult their biggest rival, McDonald's. One even depicted an agent of McDonald's trying to steal one of Burger King's secret recipes.
    • Burger King also made a jab at KFC, claiming that "A King always outranks a Colonel."
    • A Burger King poster illustrates how much bigger its burgers are than McDonald's burgers by depicting a "silly Whopper" sitting on top of a Big Mac box, unable to fit inside.
    • Burger King's #FeelYourWay promotion promoted mental health awareness while spoofing McDonald's Happy Meals, offering food bags depicting various negative emotions because "No one is happy all the time."
    • Another BK commercial from the '70s was a musical in which a man has "tried it here, tried it there, and tried it where they make 'em square", obviously referring to Wendy's.
    • A set of commercials featuring their Whopper, Jr. and Crispy Chicken mascots going to Wendy's and Subway to boast about their superiority.
    • When McDonald's lost the trademark for the Big Mac in Europe, Burger King changed their menu to be a collection of potshots at the sandwich, knowing McDonald's couldn't do anything about it.
  • In September 2018 when Rally's and Checkers ran a $1.00 drink campaign, their ads went to show that they offer a bigger size beverage in any size than McDonald's.
  • Kentucky Fried Chicken:
    • A commercial featuring Foghorn Leghorn, Foghorn tells the viewers that a lot of burger restaurants have told them they make chicken as well. Foghorn then says that burger restaurants don't know anything about making chicken, as they know cows. He then puts a chicken mask on Toro the Bull (from "Bully for Bugs") and asks them if it looks right to them.
    • A KFC advert in the UK shows two coworkers comparing their fast-food lunches. One of them has a £5 KFC meal which he sings the praises of, emphasising his two side dishes. His coworker has a £5 footlong sandwich (the price of a Subway footlong and drink in the UK). The first guy asks if he got crisps, and the second guy replies it would have cost extra.
  • Taco Bell:
    • Commercials featuring Rocky and Bullwinkle feature Boris and Natasha hawking McBoris Burgers, which are described as being boring. One ad features Bullwinkle being bored stiff and being turned to stone after eating a McBoris Burger, allowing Boris and Natasha to capture him so that Rocky will pay them a big ransom to get him back. Natasha even says, "What we want is what we get", a crack at McDonald's slogan at the time.
    • To promote their breakfast menu, Taco Bell had ads where people named Ronald McDonald enjoyed Taco Bell food.
    • Taco Bell also made two commercials taking place in a dystopian world run by the "burger people" playing off of McDonald's aesthetics, where the guards are clowns and the emergency escape leads into a ballpit. The idea is that anybody who eats biscuit tacos instead of the same old McDonald's breakfast items is a rebellious "Breakfast Defector," and in the second commercial, the "burger people" will punish anyone who eats Taco Bell's nacho fries instead of the standard fries.
  • Wendy's made their own fantasy Tabletop RPG, Feast of Legends. The villain was the evil Ice Jester, a shot at Ronald McDonald and how McDonald's uses frozen beef; and the rest of the monsters were based on other McDonaldland characters. There are also scattered references to other fast-food chains, and none of them are complimentary — for instance, a Sequel Hook suggests that the follow-up campaign (if there is one) will be going after the Creepy King next.
  • Krystal (kind of a Deep South version of White Castle) has a string of commercials featuring the famous mascots of other restaurants getting busted ordering from there. One has a drive-thru attendant ask a person in the back of a limo, "Back again your highness?" (It becomes obvious that it's the Burger King a few seconds later.) Another shows an unseen person with large red pigtails (and the famous blue dress of the Wendy's mascot) getting chastised when someone finds the boxes Krystals are sold in hidden in her desk.
  • Cola companies Pepsi Co. and The Coca-Cola Company engaged in a near decade-long rivalry in the late '70s through '80s, now nicknamed "The Cola Wars". This began with the Pepsi Challenge campaign, where Pepsi had folks do a blind taste test of Pepsi and Coke to prove that Pepsi tasted better, only for Coke to respond with parodies, like people doing taste tests of tennis balls.
    • This commercial from 2001 depicts a child at a vending machine, trying to reach the button that dispenses Pepsi. Unable to reach it, the child instead purchases two cans of Coca-Cola from the machine and uses those Cola cans as an impromptu footstool to reach the Pepsi button.
    • There was also a series of commercials featuring a little girl who asks for a Pepsi but ends up with Coca-Cola instead. And this drives her to get even, with the voice of Marlon Brando.
    • Pepsi had an ad set in the future, with an archaeology class picking through an abandoned present-day family home. The students keep finding everyday items which their professor (wrongly) identifies until one comes up with Coca-Cola's trademark wasp-waisted glass bottle, and the professor admits that he has no idea what it is.
    • At least two Pepsi ads state how when you buy Pepsi, you could win free concert tickets. But with Coke, you just get the polar bear (a guy in a costume) or a name on the bottle (but not necessarily your name).
    • When Pepsi came out with Pepsi Vanilla in 2003 to compete with Vanilla Coke, it ran a series of ads mocking their competitor while touting their own drink as "the not-so-vanilla vanilla."
      • One ad featured two guys attempting to use a Pepsi Vanilla vending machine that repeatedly shuts off every time the button is pressed. One of them sees a Vanilla Coke machine nearby, but the other says "Trust me, they're not even close" and continues trying to get the Pepsi machine to work (which is then revealed to be controlled by two pranksters across the street).
      • Another ad featured two truck drivers meeting at a stoplight (the Vanilla Coke driver listening to REO Speedwagon's "Ridin' the Storm Out" on the radio, the Pepsi Vanilla driver playing hip-hop from massive speakers on the sides of his truck as it hydraulically bounces up and down).
    • In a rare case of Coke targeting Pepsi, New Coke ads with Max Headroom had Max interrogate a can of Pepsi, which in one spot begins to "sweat." This is justified as New Coke was designed to compete with Pepsi specifically.
    • A 2021 Pepsi campaign targeted McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's, which all serve Coke products, by boasting about a study claiming Pepsi tastes better with burgers and showing ads with Extreme Close Ups of those restaurants' packaging, with a circle strategically placed around their colors to form the Pepsi logo, and one with those restaurants' three respective mascots clinging to cans of Pepsi. As part of the campaign, the Pepsi company would pay back customers who drink a Pepsi with a burger and post it on social media.
  • Ernest P. Worrell did commercials for the Coca-Cola Company, specifically for both Sprite and Mello Yello. In commercials for Sprite, he'd compared it to 7UP, saying Sprite tasted better than the UnCola (7Up's tagline at the time); he did the same for Mello Yello, saying it tasted much better than Mountain Dew.
  • Busch went after Coors hard, pointing out that the Coors distributed in the Eastern US didn't use that fine Colorado Rocky Mountain spring water they bragged about since they were brewed in Virginia. Some were almost as quick and dirty as political campaign ads. Coors responded with ads where their president walked around with the Virginia mountains in the background and asserted that water was just as pure and didn't make a difference to the overall quality of their beer.
  • Mike's Hard Lemonade has a series of spots taking shots at their competitors, with the innovations said competitors advertise being brought to the bosses by a well-meaning employee. Take Miller's Cold Activated (and for that matter Coor's Light's similar mechanic) can, which displays a logo when the beer is cold enough. The Mike's employees pointed out that you could do the same thing simply by picking up the can.
  • Papa John's engaged in this in the late 1990s when it was becoming a prominent challenger to both Dominos and Pizza Hut, who were two dominant pizza franchises in the U.S. at the time. This commercial is one example, with Papa John's claiming to have a better tasting pizza than Pizza Hut.
  • Cicis Pizza's ad for their unlimited buffet had a subtle one at Little Caesar's Pizza, making fun of their motto. "You can have 'Pizza, pizza'" (showing a bored family with one box of pizza) "...or you could have pizza, pizza, pizza, pizza..." (showing the various pizzas available in the Cicis buffet).
  • A Russian ad for Burger King showed one of their burgers falling on a poppy flower, remarking that the poppy used to be popular but now it's outdated. Russian for "poppy" is 'mak'.
  • A Miller Lite promotion for Super Bowl LV encouraged viewers to visit a ridiculously long URL (836 characters!) during the Super Bowl commercial for the expensive Michelob Ultra in order to get free Miller Lite, as a tactic to distract from its competitor's commercial.
  • A Samuel Adams commercial for Super Bowl LV started with a majestic shot of Clydesdales being released from their harnesses, evoking the imagery of competing beer Budweiser, before showing that the Clydesdales are actually incredibly destructive when let loose, so everybody in town runs away screaming.
  • An early 1980s ad for a fried-chicken restaurant chain had people "kicking the bucket" for their product. The ad depicted people walking outside and literally kicking away a striped bucket, an obvious parody of KFC.
  • Arby's:
    • One spot for the Arby's Roast Burger depicts competing burger places as too greasy and messy. A guy sits on a bench, eating a traditional burger, fries, and soft drink lunch. He's about to bite into it when grease squirts all over his shirt and hands. Just then, a bombshell woman walks up to him to the tune of Warrant's "Cherry Pie" and hands him her number. He tries to open it, and the grease on his hands smudges the number. He tries to get her to stop, but she just makes the "call me" gesture and drives off. This began in response to a series of ads from Carl's Jr that featured sexy men and women biting messily into its burgers while dripping sauce everywhere.
    • An Arby's commercial complain has them taking a dig at Subway. It began with someone outside of a Subway and then head to some kind of factory that's far away. To make a long story short — Arby claims that Subway's food isn't as "fresh" as their turkey sandwich.
    • An third Arby's commercial takes a dig at Chick-Fil-A in advertising their new chicken sandwiches. In it, the announcer claim that Arby's has put great care into the new sandwiches, then reassures everyone that they still have other meats. The guy goes on to laugh at the notion of a store that sells nothing but chicken sandwiches.
    • Arby's ran a commercial in the mid-2000s featuring a man going to a Wendy's board meeting and proposing a line of healthy roast beef sandwiches, which promptly gets him laughed out of the room. The ad stopped running in 2008, when Arby's parent company Triarc purchased Wendy's, and then sold Arby's off three years later.
  • Carl's Junior (Or Hardee's, depending on your area) once did a commercial that advertised their "large" five-dollar burgers, which, literally, was a line of take-out paper bags belonging to rival fast-food chains dropping, while someone intoned, "(insert fast food place here) doesn't have it." They've done another one, which was now a take that at Burger King.
  • In Australia, advertising for Billabong Ice Cream's Lime Spider flavour contained the slogan "A lime spider is better than a lame lion", a very mean jab aimed at Paddle Pop ice-creams, whose mascot is a lion.
  • The ads for Domino's subs are a huge Take That! against Subway. The first series had employees from Submart secretly trying to get hold of Domino's subs. A later series has several employees looking at all the great ingredients on Domino's subs, while the guy behind the counter complains that all they have is lettuce (though that really isn't true).
  • Pizza Hut:
    • In a Pizza Hut advertisement promoting Back to the Future Part II, two Hill Valley teens from 1989 travel to the year 2015 in the DeLorean and soon start craving for pizza. One of them suggests, "What about that place that delivers?" They approach a building with a sign on the window saying "We Deliver". The camera tilts up, and what is the name of the building they've come to? Domino's Hardware. This revelation causes them to wonder, "What happened to them?"
    • Pizza Hut ran ads asking people on the street to choose between their P'zone and a cold turkey sub. They choose the P'zone.
  • Jack in the Box:
    • One commercial has Jack mocking Burger King's "Have it your way" slogan by mentioning the fact that you can't order breakfast after 11:00 A.M., unlike at his restaurant where you can order anything on the menu 24/7. He ends the commercial by standing in front of a Burger King and uttering these words, "And hey, if I'm saying something that's not true... *rips the sleeves off his suit* Do something about it."
    • In one campaign, Jack gives advice to McDonald's and Burger King on how to make fresher burgers, then waits by the phone counting down the days until they change. At one point, he tries to call Burger King, only to realize they're an English company (at the time, they were owned by the London-based Diegao).
      "That explains everything! We kicked their butt 200 years ago and now they're using microwaves to reheat their Whopper meat to get even with us!"
    • To promote his new burger, Jack gave samples to "random" people named Ronald McDonald, Jared from the subway, and the Vopper family, just so he could say even Ronald McDonald / Jared from subway / the home of the "Voppers" liked his burgers best.
    • One promotion at a San Diego State Aztecs game had Jack swing a golf ball into Ronald McDonald's nads.
  • Ovaltine's chocolate milk commercials were infamous for featuring kids trash-talking Nestle's chocolate milk.
  • Pillsbury pits their Toaster Strudels against Kellogg's Pop-Tarts. In the ads, there are usually two kids, one has the Toaster Strudel and the other has a Pop-Tart. The kid with the Pop-Tart is disappointed as he/she sees the Pop-Tarts is hard as a rock and snaps like a cracker while the other kid gets their Toaster Strudel from the toaster and happily enjoys it, showing how soft and warm it is compared to Pop-Tarts. One shows a kid keeping the Pop-Tarts in his locker, rather than eat them. These ads usually undersell Pop-Tarts by only focusing on the strawberry flavor and only depicting them in their brittle untoasted state.
  • Quizno's:
    • They advertised their sandwiches as superior to Subway by renaming the competitor "Wrongway" and mocking the supposed lack of meat in Subway sandwiches. They also mocked the "Five Dollar Footlong" Subway campaign with people literally eating five-dollar bills and coins.
    • There's at least one case where this backfired. One Quizno's potshot against Subway involved two men sitting on a bench, one with a Quizno's sub, and one with a sub that was clearly Subway's. The man with the Quizno's sub says "Untoastednote ? What, were you raised by wolves?" Cue the second guy having a flashback of himself, still adult and in a three-piece suit, nursing from a mother wolf with her pups. He then responds back in the present "Why yes. Yes, I was." Enough people were put off by this ad that it was taken off the air, then put back on with the nursing scene cut out.
  • Relentless energy drink tastes pretty much identical to the more popular, well-established, and expensive Red Bull, apart from having a bit more sugar in it. The big difference is that Relentless comes in 500ml cans and Red Bull comes in 250ml cans. Relentless' slogan, which is printed all over said cans, is "NO HALF MEASURES."
  • A 1960s ad for Royal pudding mix compared it to another brand, pointedly unnamed and with its box hidden in a paper bag — with a shot of the bag's open end clearly showing that the other brand was Royal's then-competitor Kosto.
  • Subway:
    • Their ads in The New '10s made fun of how unhealthy their fast-food competitors supposedly were compared to Subway sandwiches. a specific campaign in which people start breaking chairs, popping buttons off their shirt and so on the second they sink their teeth into a burger. (One of these ads ends with someone taking a bag into their car from the drive-thru, and the tires immediately blow out.)
    • This commercial represents the apparent monotony of eating burgers all the time with a heart monitor, except the beeps are replaced with the word "burger" and the line is replaced with a series of familiar yellow arches until it flatlines. Two sequel commercials depicted Ronald McDonald taking a vacation and eating a Subway meal, with the tagline, "We could all use a break from burgers."
  • British supermarkets got into a rather vicious commercial war, where each supermarket brought up just how many products it had cheaper than the others. Particularly bad with Asda and Tesco, where Asda started with 'Asda have this many products cheaper than Tesco', who then responded with 'Tesco have this many real baskets cheaper than Asda', and so on.
  • Budget supermarket LIDL had been trying to rebrand itself and take some of the middle-class customers from Sainsburys and Waitrose. Their advertising consists of giving members of the public blind taste tests of their products and their competitors', stating that "You can't even taste the difference", which is Sainsburys' slogan and the name of their "premium" line of foods.
  • Florida's Natural orange juice often highlights in its ads that its juice is made from oranges grown entirely in the U.S. as a cooperative effort among Florida farmers, while its competitors use a mix of domestic and imported oranges. One ad shows the juice next to its competitors, then asks, "Who do you think takes more pride in how they craft their orange juice? The corporate executives of Coke and Pepsi, or the farmers of Florida's Natural?" The competing juices (Tropicana and Simply Orange, which are owned by PepsiCo and Coca-Cola respectively) dissolve into some generic CEO guys as a farmer proudly strides next to the Florida's Natural jug. Another ad portrays the competing juices as floating lifelessly in the water as the narrator describes how they ship their orange juice from overseas.
  • The Alpha Foods vegan food company has a parody law firm commercial advertising representation for people who turned vegan against their will after eating Alpha Foods. It depicts testimonials from popular fast food mascots Colonel Sanders, Ronald McDonald, and Wendy from Wendy's.
  • Vitagen, a Singaporean/Malaysian cultured milk drink, created an ad taking a dig at Japanese competitor Yakult in 2023 after Singapore's Health Promotion Board introduced a beverage grading system, where Vitagen got a B and Yakult got a D. D-grade beverages have been banned from advertising across Singaporean media. The ad consists of a Japanese man attempting to advertise their drink but is constantly bleeped out, followed by a woman saying "Unlike our competitors, we are not banned from advertising."
  • Starry's 2024 Super Bowl ad had Ice Spice's ex, another lemon-lime soda, confront her and begin crying now that she's "with" Starry. The competing soda is represented by a guy in a white cap and green shirt with blurred-out white text, which resembles the color scheme of both competitors Sprite and 7-Up.

    Household Products 
  • In 1973, Duracell's mascot was the Duracell Bunny, a pink drumming rabbit who was shown in commercials alongside many similar-looking pink drumming rabbits who ran on different batteries. One by one, the bunnies would wear down, except the one powered by the Duracell Battery. Although the Duracell Bunny continues to be used in Europe and Australia, Duracell failed to renew its US trademark of the Bunny and lost it by 1988. The first Energizer Bunny commercial was a direct parody of the Duracell Bunny commercials, creating the implication that Duracell always compared its batteries to carbon-zinc batteries and not similar alkaline batteries like Energizer by having the Energizer Bunny show up to the other drumming bunnies' play-offs as an uninvited guest.
  • A commercial for Huggies Little Movers diapers features a take that to Pampers' Swaddlers line of diapers. The commercial depicts a baby lying on its back, wrapped in a blanket like a cocoon, while the other babies are out crawling and having fun as the announcer says, "Some diapers are designed to swaddle your baby, while others are designed to give your baby all the freedom to move."
  • A Mr. Muscle commercial has the slogan of being "cheaper than a plumber," since a bottle of kitchen cleaner is bound to be cheaper than a guy who comes to your house and rearranges your piping.
  • No Nonsense once promoted their hosiery with the slogan "Great pantyhose are made, not hatched," a clear Take That to competitor L'eggs.
  • Rayovac were vicious in their battery commercials. Some of their commercials featured scary-looking electronic devices literally eating Duracells and Energizers until they were stopped by Michael Jordan. Other commercials featured them electrocuting people for saying Duracell gives you better value for your money.
  • Around 1990, Blistik ran print ads for its lip balm (lip salve to UK readers) that suggested you should use the smoother Blistik instead of a "Waxy Stick", which it suggested was as stiff and skin-unfriendly as a candle, down to showing one of them with a lit wick. Just coincidentally, the "Waxy Sticks" tube had graphics very similar to ChapStick, the leading lip balm.
  • "To all who use our competitors' products: Happy Father's Day." In a print ad for Durex condoms.
  • Back in the late 1960s, Meds, a competing tampon brand to Tampax that was on its last legs at the time, ran an ad promoting the benefits of their product being made of rayon and asking "Why are some tampons just chunks of cotton?"
  • AXE body spray took a shot against The Man Your Man Could Smell Like, boasting that AXE is for men who would "rather be with a woman than on a horse."
  • In a far cry from Indian TV advertising Take That norms that use a Bland-Name Product as a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for the competing product, this Pepsodent commercial slams Colgate's competing product head-on.
  • A 2022 radio ad for the electronics retailer Video Only has the two spokespeople tell listeners that while they might be thinking about buying appliances at prime prices, they should consider Video Only, whose prices are even lower. They don't outright name the company, instead relying on listeners' familiarity with Amazon Prime.
  • A commercial for Cascade Platinum Plus dishwashing pods not only brags about having "double the Dawn dishwashing power," but also compares a Cascade-washed pan to a less impressive one washed by the competition... with the word "Competition" in the exact same font as competing dishwashing pods Finish.

  • Due to the general decline of the medium, newspaper ad wars in the U.S. are nowhere near this vicious anymore. Nevertheless, in the New York area, where three daily papers survive, there have been some in the past:
    • The New York Post once ran a radio ad promising prospective readers they'd be "ahead of the times and on top of the news", phrases not coincidentally incorporating the names of their two competitors.
    • In a mid-'80s TV ad, one of the two tabloids (can't remember which) ran a TV ad in which voices singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" were complemented by the words on screen and a bouncing football on whatever one they were singing. Only by the second line the voices were starting to lose their rhythm and go off-key, leaving the bouncing football unsure of where to go. The (ahem) kicker? The words were in the same Old English font that The New York Times uses for the name of the paper. It was a clear Take That to the Times' sports coverage, which up to that time was notoriously the weakest section of the paper (since then it's been greatly improved).
  • Newspaper wars in India are quite vicious, with brands calling out the competitors aggressively.
    • An ad for the Pune edition of the Times of India, which sold one million copies — "Thank you Pune. There's nothing left to EXPRESS" — attacking the long-running daily Indian Express. Not taking it lightly, Indian Express shot back with an ad depicting a bathroom roll of paper with the Times of India masthead, and that part torn, saying "Not everyone of the one million buy the Times of India to read it".
    • In the early 2010s, a very aggressive war between the Times of India and the Hindu was waged since the Times of India launched its Chennai edition. The Times of India ad showed Chennai as a very sleepy place, with sleepy people, including one with a copy of the Hindu in his pocket, in a "Wake Up Chennai" ad. The Hindu shot back with a whole lot of young people, college-goers and professionals, with poor general knowledge, who know everything about celebrities' personal lives — and read the Times of India. They even ran a print ad saying "Because Government malfunctions matter more than wardrobe malfunctions", still poking fun at TOI's tabloid style of reporting and editing. Funnily enough, that was a full-page front-page ad on the Times of India itself, but they still kept poking, congratulating the competitor for waking up to the competition.

    Professional Wrestling 
Wrestlers famously take brutal digs at each other when promoting matches, but their wrestling companies aren't above doing the same.

  • The very existence of WCW Monday Nitro was to spite WWE's own Monday Night RAW. Taking advantage of being a live broadcast show in comparison with the taped nature of its competition, Eric Bischoff used this in order to reveal Raw spoilers such as match results and the nature of the Higher Power. However, this practice ended up backfiring the night of January 4, 1999, when Tony Schiavone used the Spiteful Spoiler trope in order to take a potshot at Raw is War, which was pre-recorded. This instead led to millions of Nitro viewers switching to Raw to watch the beloved babyface Mick Foley win the WWF Championship, while those who stayed watching Nitro ended up witnessing the infamous "Fingerpoke Of Doom" instead.
    "Fans, as Hollywood Hogan walks away and you look at this 40,000 plus on hand, if you're even thinking about changing the channel to our competition, fans, do not, because we understand that Mick Foley, who wrestled here one time as Cactus Jack, is going to win their world title. Ha! That's gonna put some butts in the seats, heh."
  • During the WCW World Heavyweight Championship match between Sting and Big Van Vader at WCW The Great American Bash 92, July 12, 1992, commentator Jesse Ventura said that "there's no money in bodybuilding". This was a shot at WWF's failed WBF (World Bodybuilding Federation), which closed three days after this PPV aired.
  • On the 10/26/1996 edition of NITRO, while confronting Sting, Scott Hall referred to the fake Sting as a "Bogus Imposter" and mentioned how no one knew about bringing out an imposter "better than us" while pointing to Kevin Nash, a shot towards the infamous "fake Diesel and Razor Ramon" WWF tried to push as the genuine article.
  • WWF had Gillberg, who was basically a Bizarro version of WCW's biggest star Goldberg. Unlike Goldberg, Gillberg was pale, scrawny, had cheap entrance effects, a very obviously fake chant, had a shitty dotted line tattoo that mocked Goldberg's, could only win with outside help, has the catchphrase "Who's First" instead of "Who's Next," and was even slated to have a 173-match losing streak.
  • The WWF also had the "Billionaire Ted" skits, a horrible take that directed towards WCW's owner and perpetual McMahon boogeyman, Ted Turner.
  • WWE launched one against Hulk Hogan for jumping ship to TNA. In the opening video for all WWE programming, they removed the "Hulkamania is running wild" sound byte, replacing it with Ted DiBiase's Catchphrase "Everyone's got a price." WWE also, coincidentally, had a new Hulk Hogan DVD coming out of some of his classic matches. Once Hogan signing with TNA had been announced, the commercials made sure to note that the matches on the DVD featured Hogan "in his prime."
  • In 2019, AJ Styles turned heel and reunited with Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows to reform the Club, only now it's called "the O.C." Both the entrance video & their specialized chyron always start with "Official, Original, Only Club that matters", both a potshot towards The Elite (who dominated the Bullet Club for quite some time after Styles's departure from New Japan Pro-Wrestling) and a potshot towards NJPW itself.
  • TNA has used many, many Take Thats against WWE, to the point where it became a de facto rule that "if you were a former WWE employee, you must take shots at said company if you want a push".
    • One example, although one WWE deserved; in 2004, WWE was filming a segment for the Royal Rumble in Florida, when a number of TNA wrestlers (including Ron "R-Truth" Killings) came over with cookies and balloons to greet them (let it be said that, despite working for rival companies, many wrestlers trained and worked together in independent promotions, and are very good friends.) Supposedly, WWE turned them away and refused to air the footage of the encounter. Subsequent episodes of Impact (which at this time aired on Fox Sports Net) made mention of this, and one of them featured a series of sketches with fake versions of Vince McMahon & Triple H heading through the Impact Zone to find "the footage." Finally, they find the tape and smash it with a sledgehammer, with Vince exclaiming "this isn't the footage! This is 'the best of D-Ray 3000'!"note 
    • Ron Killings gave one to the WWF for never giving Ricky Steamboat a chance to be WWF Champion, strongly implying the only reason a wrestler as talented as Steamboat never got a shot was because he was Asian.
    • On a New Year's Day 2007 episode of Raw, Shawn Michaels mentions that he wants to face "one of the greatest wrestlers of our generation, but he's either not here or is probably jerking the curtain someplace else". This is an indirect response to the Voodoo Kin Mafia (Road Dogg and Billy Gunn), though "reliable" news sources are spinning it as a shot on TNA defectee Kurt Angle, especially when said sources were in their "TNA good! WWE bad!" mode and the fact that both WWE and Angle were slinging mud at each other at the time.
    • During Jim Cornette's State of the Union address, when he spoke to Jeff Jarrett about the title situation, he expressed his dislike of titles being awarded instead of being won and lost in the ring, specifically by their promoters. Whether if it's to their neighbor or to their son-in-law.
    • There was a shot taken by Rhino, an "ECW Original" who had been fired by WWE and subsequently hired by TNA; when WWE revived the ECW brand in 2006, Rhino appeared on an episode of TNA Impact and not only denounced the "new ECW" but proceeded to put a duplicate ECW World Championship belt into a barrel and set it on fire.
    • On the 2/25 2010 episode of iMPACT!, there was a bit where Eric Bischoff is sitting at his desk talking to someone on the phone and he says to them "No, we are not using celebrity guest hosts every week. It's the dumbest damn idea I've ever heard." In fairness, this could be a shot to USA Network instead of WWE.
    • One match had Brother Ray staple a "ECW fears TNA" sign on Abyss's forehead? So what message does that send to Abyss again?
    • One sketch involved an old man with a funny walk storming through TNA's backstage area and demanding that Lauren tell him where his son-in-law was.
    • Back when "The Rated R Superstar" Edge was pushing the PG13 rating to the limit and Kurt Angle wanted to have deviant sex with Booker T's wife, TNA was going PG and announcing they had something better than the competition. "SIX" appeal, in reference to their new six-sided ring. The commercial also said Triple H had a big ego and a small heart, in case fans were missing the more subtle messages.
    • The whole thing descended to the point of self-parody when B.G. and Kip James rechristened themselves the Voodoo Kin Mafia and "declared war" on the WWE, which involved standing outside a WWE show with a megaphone making fun of the size of Vince's penis, driving to WWE's head office at 3 AM to launch an offensive, and bringing in a "big fat oily naked guy" just because WWE used one in a couple of skits.
    • During the earlier days of Fortune, Frankie Kazarian made Take Thats towards the WWE, from referring to the crowd as the "TNA Galaxy" (a shot at the WWE referring to its fans as the "WWE Universe") to shilling Fortune by saying that they weren't "a group full of rookies."
    • Jackie Gayda claiming how the TNA girls were tougher than the WWE's; this was before the knockout division and was questionable considering the source.
    • Velvet Sky and Daffney Unger took apart the Raw Diva Search after several trained wrestlers were rejected (namely, Sky herself)
    • Turned around where ODB attacking Tara's WWE past was eventually used for heel heat, probably after someone realized how ridiculous it was considering all the other former WWE stars ODB had tolerated until then.
    • Tommy Dreamer complaining about WWE's use of ECW, even though TNA was doing the same thing.
    • Perhaps the ultimate proof of their frequency of take that's towards the WWE is when during a taping of Impact, then-World Heavyweight Champion Mr. Anderson had to redo a promo solely to include shots at the WWE.
    • TNA's entire slogan is that "Wrestling Matters." Except that this is blatantly out of retaliation of WWE's name changenote . The in-show ads only add fuel to this as Eric Bischoff states that they're "Not afraid of the word 'Wrestling.'"
  • Batista once criticised the TNA X Division for not "wrestling" in a conventional sense during an interview he gave while injured. AJ Styles' retort?
    "I think it's funny that someone who takes a back bump and injures himself tells me that I don't know how to wrestle."
  • On Monday, January 4, 2010, TNA had a three-hour special on Spike that overlapped with Monday Night Raw on USA. During a break on Raw, inside of a commercial, a Hulk Hogan voiceover basically said:
    "What the hell are you doing here? Go over to Spike!!"
  • Eric Bischoff posted a rather scathing blog about how stupid WWE was for going PG and focusing on a younger audience. He goes on and talks about how they were losing viewers because of it (the RAW he brings up still maintained their average overall rating while going up against Monday Night Football), proceeds to bring up the demographic data, and states that "facts hurt". This blows up in his face spectacularly, as the very week he says this, TNA Impact dropped below a 1.0 rating for the first time in several weeks.
  • After Bobby Lashley won the World Heavyweight Title on Impact, TNA posted a picture of him holding the belt on their Twitter account reading "The Real Champ Is Here". This was a directed potshot at John Cena. They then added "You Can't See Me" only with "See" crossed out and "Beat" in its place.
  • Carter The Third mocked WWE's tendency to rename wrestlers and refused to refer to Rycklon Stevens by his WWE name of Ezekiel Jackson, stating it was merely something that was pulled out of a bin.
  • In 1994, ECW introduced a Jobber named Joel Hartgood, a rib on Joel Goodhart, the promoter of the then-defunct Tri-State Wrestling Alliance in Philadelphia, where ECW founder Tod Gordon and many early ECW wrestlers got their starts.
  • After the 2/12/20 edition of AEW Dynamite went off the air, there was an impromptu tag match where Brandon Cutler and QT Marshall took on the team of Jesus and Scooby-Doo. This is a not-so-subtle shot at "The Monday Night Messiah" Seth Rollins and "The Big Dog" Roman Reigns respectively.
  • Brodie Lee:
    • During Brodie's reveal as The Dark Order's "Exalted One", he says to Christopher Daniels, "You're not the first out of touch old man to not believe in me."
    • Brodie's "You wrestle with the gimmick I give you", as well as his forcing most of the Dark Order to wrestle in masks, is a take that to CHIKARA promoter Mike Quackenbush, who had been forced to close his company down after the Speaking Out Movement controversy.
  • Bobby Rogers boasted about Future Of Wrestling being the first pro wrestling promotion in the world to tour South America, which was a Take That! at Buddy Rogers's fictitious WWF title victory in Brazil.
  • Ring of Honor got one in to WWE in one of their trailers for Death Before Dishonor VIII and how the PPV is not rated PG. They even showed footage of a guy getting strangled by a tie in one of the trailers.note 
  • One of the recurring segments on GLOW involved owner/boss David McLane talking on the phone with a fellow wrestling promoter named Vince, who in reality wouldn't have given McLane the time of day.
  • Lucha Underground opened with owner and promoter Dario Cueto giving a guided tour of the Temple and getting in this nice shot at the competition:
    "If you think it's too much, too aggressive, dangerous, bloody... change the channel. Or enjoy some other kind of wrestling... [chuckles] from Connecticut."

  • Central Wisconsin has mainly only had 95.5 WIFC as the only modern Top 40 radio station in the region since the 1960s. Hot 96.7 started broadcasting in 2011, and their first method of advertising to the region was to announce how different — and thus better — they were than 95.5 WIFC. For the first year or so, most of their commercials would take potshots at their only direct competition, including one call-in that thanked them for not playing Nickelback.

  • Between the cellphone service providers, there have been commercials that compare the reliability and coverage of their respective plans. Verizon had one that declared its 3G network covered more of the country vs AT&T's, predictably leading to a lawsuit.
  • Verizon and AT&T spent a good portion of the second half of 2009 taking shots at each other.
    • Verizon showed their greater 3G coverage area with the phrase "There's a map for that", a parody of the "app for that" phrase from the iPhone, of which AT&T was the only authorized carrier at the time. In response, AT&T sued them, then later dropped the suit. They rolled out a series of ads with Luke Wilson, citing their greater 3G speed and better overall coverage, as well as other features.
    • The Verizon Christmas ad placed the iPhone on the "Island of Misfit Toys" because of its limited 3G coverage. Their Valentine's Day ad worked along the same principle, as a parody of the jewelry commercials with the shadows. The guy gives his girl an AT&T phone (not specified as the iPhone this time) and she rejects it upon seeing the limited 3G coverage. The iPhone later got Verizon coverage, leaving this and other anti-iPhone ads outdated.
    • Another Verizon commercial also pokes fun at The Twilight Saga, with the Edward Cullen Captain Ersatz dumping the Bella Swan stand-in because her phone (clearly an AT&T phone) has poor 3G coverage and running off only to find a bunch of girls with Verizon phones...and then a werewolf hits on "Bella".
  • Before T-Mobile carried Apple products, they had an ad campaign similar to the "I'm a Mac, and I'm a PC" campaign. A pretty young woman (played by Carly Foulkes) depicted T-Mobile's My Touch 4G, while the iPhone 4 was a guy carrying a sloppy businessman — the AT&T network — depicting the iPhone as overly reliant on Wi-Fi.
  • Virgin Mobile released a series of ads featuring a very clear parody of the cheerful young woman from the T-Mobile commercials. She is mocked by the Virgin mascots and perpetually sports an unnatural smile. In one ad, they make fun of T-Mobile's AT&T acquisition by depicting the T-Mobile girl as a Stepford Smiler who'd rather be anywhere else but with the AT&T businessman.
  • Cricket Wireless once encouraged T-Mobile and Metro customers to switch to their service for a discount, imploring them to say "Hasta la vista, T-Mobile."
  • Many NetZero commercials try to get you to switch by having you compare their per-monthly fees with whatever you're paying with your broadband connection, then saying that whatever it is, it's not going to be the "just $19.99 a month" (or what have you) that NetZero is.
  • Cellular advertising wars in Indonesia in the late 2000s and early 2010s were notoriously vicious:
  • A series of Alltel commercials portraying Chad, the Alltel guy, as a cool dude, and the other four big wireless companies as D&D-playing geeks.
    • The original versions of the ads featured Chad trying to befriend the other cell phone companies' mascots, such as the Verizon guy and that weird orange stick figure from Cingular. The companies hated this; in response, they did an ad of a mock court scene with the mascots' faces blurred, before switching to Chad vs. the employees.
    • "Chad joins the adventuring party!" With the acquisition of Alltel by Verizon, the campaign is put to an honorable end with the real Verizon guy meeting Chad in apparent accomplishment of what these two metaphors can do together. (The imitator characters were nowhere to be seen.)
  • Comcast, in an early 2021 ad campaign, styled its radio and TV ads for Xfinity Mobile as people advising you to break up with your partner who isn't right for you. The ads tell you to end your relationship with your wireless mobile carrier because you deserve better. The slogan: "Break free from the big three", referring to AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon.
  • Cox started running an ad around late 2022 that targeted the nascent 5G Home Internet services from phone companies by showing an animated girl trying to build a house of cards with smartphones and failing. The message was that 5G Home Internet services wouldn't be as good as Cox's home internet services because "It's just phone internet, not home internet".
  • In the wake of the breakup of the Bell System, AT&T, MCI, and Sprint took potshots at each others' long distance phone services in TV commercials through the '80s and '90s.

  • Nickelodeon:
    • A 1992 ad for the Nicktoons block featured a solitary kid waiting for a train, no doubt a jab at USA Cartoon Express. Another ad included stock footage of a literal trainwreck. This became Hilarious in Hindsight when Viacom acquired Paramount in 1994 and briefly inherited their 50% stake in USA Network (Universal would take full ownership in 1997.)
    • A 1993 ad for Nonstop Nicktoons Weekend advised viewers not to watch the "same old cartoons" over a picture of a checkerboard background.
  • Cartoon Network:
    • A late-1990s bumper featured Dexter looking through his microscope and seeing a germ resembling the Cartoon Network logo swallow up an orange blob.
    • A off-network ad for Cartoon Cartoon Fridays had various Cartoon Cartoon characters telling the viewer about the block on an orange background, with Edd saying "We're not even supposed to be on this channel". What's more, the ad could actually be seen on Nickelodeon itself, during breaks that featured local advertisements supplied by your cable provider.
    • While Nickelodeon hyped up the premiere of the SpongeBob SquarePants special "Have You Seen This Snail?" in which Gary runs away, Cartoon Network programs featured a network bug where a snail would move across the screen, holding an "I Love CN" sign. The implication was that Gary ran away to be on Cartoon Network.
    • A 1998 commercial has a take that at Nickelodeon's Rugrats. When the titular duo of Cow and Chicken talk to an executive about their show, he brings up the idea of a show called Carpet Bunnies. Chicken calls it a stupid idea.
    • The only instance of Toonami ever calling a competitor out by name is seen here: "Ever wonder who would win in a battle between Jake Long and Naruto? I'm betting Naruto, hands down." TOM also calls out animesque "pretenders"; this bumper aired when Avatar: The Last Airbender was starting to get popular.
  • Shortly after coverage of the first game in the 2016 World Series, the local FOX affiliate in Cleveland aired a brief message stating "We'd like to take a moment to thank the Cleveland Indians for their historic run. We're also thankful the TBS announcers aren't calling the World Series."note 
  • An ad for National Geographic Channel's Border Wars had an obvious take that at A&E Network's Storage Wars. The ad begins with two men showing off in front of two storages with the narrator saying:
    Storage.. That's not a war. The border, now that's a real war.
  • Blockbuster once ran had a campaign against Netflix saying "Goodbye Netflix, Hello Blockbuster!". This too ended up becoming ironically Hilarious in Hindsight after Blockbuster went bankrupt due to services like Netflix.

    Theme Parks 
  • A mid-1990s ad campaign for Six Flags Great Adventure stressed that the park was bigger than Disneyland and a whole lot closer (at least to those in the New York metropolitan area).
  • An ad for Universal Studios mocked the Disney Princess characters with a little girl remarking, "If I have to hug another princess, I think I'm gonna hurl."

  • Audi:
    • Audi did an ad with various people reciting what "they've been told" while looking at the "generic" cars. Two young executives were told that hollow status symbols (A pair of identical Mercedes) were the goal. A young boy was told to desire a red Italian sports car. A soccer mom with a minivan was told beige and predictable fits her lifestyle. An older golfer was told that this was the way to retire (Lexus). A middle-aged man with a red BMW and a trophy wife was told it captures his essence. Then they all look on in amazement as Audis whiz by. The trophy wife actually leaves her husband on the spot.
    • Shortly after Lexus ran a series of ads for their "self-parking" system, Audi ran this ad with a driver displaying Improbable Parking Skills, with the tagline "The luxury car for people who can park themselves."
  • The Chevy Silverado ran a campaign with Howie Long making fun of their competitors, usually poking fun at their masculinity.
    • This commercial is a neat Take That at Toyota Tundra's advertisements, which have a deep, manly voice-over. It takes one simple question from Howie Long to raise the pitch of that voice.
    • In this ad for the Silverado Mr. Long mocks the Dodge Ram for having a heated steering wheel.
    • One example that backfired is this ad for the Chevy Silverado pickup truck, in which Howie Long mocks the competing Ford F-150 for having a "man step". Ford's truck marketing manager, Doug Scott, responds explaining why the ad made Ford look better:
      "I hope they keep running the spot because they're doing a great job advertising that feature for us. Thirty-two percent of the 2009 F-150s we've sold have that tailgate step. We're doing really well with it, and we're really happy they're running that ad because it's proven to be a popular feature."
    • In this Super Bowl commercial from 2012, five men who survived the apocalypse by driving Silverados are shown eating Twinkies and lamenting the loss of their friend Dave, who apparently drove a Ford.
  • The ad for the 2019 GMC Sierra has customers gather around to throw out their old tailgates (which bear the logos of competing car brands) while singing "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye." The tagline is "The tailgate to end all tailgates."
  • When the Mahindra Scorpio was launched in India, it was positioned as an alternative to regular cars, stating its height as an advantage, so that the occupants don't have to bend down to enter the car. An early ad said that "cars will now suffer from low self-esteem", mocking both the low-slung cars sold in India, as also India's most popular sedan, the Maruti Esteem — which also has a low roof.
  • One campaign of Mazda commercials had four men in white lab scientist jackets with the names of other car companies on the back contemplating to themselves why Mazda is so much better than them. One interjects that, perhaps, it's because of that "Zoom, zoom, zoom" thing.
  • This ad for the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle shows what the world would be like if everything ran on gas. The Take That! comes at the end, with a gas/electric plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt clearly visible in the gas station.
  • One of the more infamous potshots in the car-ad field was run by New York-city area Pontiac dealers in 1990. To visuals of a Pontiac going down a road, a gruff male voice said: "Imagine. It's a few years from now, and you're taking the whole family down to see the big Christmas tree at Hirohito Center. Go ahead; keep buying Japanese cars." It was a clear reference to Mitsubishi Estate's recent purchase of Rockefeller Center. After a couple of weeks of opprobrium from Japanese American groups and other commentators, it was withdrawn.
  • In 2011, Subaru ran a fake ad campaign showcasing the "Mediocrity", a So Okay, It's Average sedan that was a shot at the mid-size sedan market in general.
  • An Indian example: This ad for Bajaj Discover shows two children pretending to ride their bikes. It's a screaming shot at the Hero Honda Splendor, for long a massively successful commuter bike, shown inferior to the Discover on multiple counts. And without the branding.
  • The ad campaign for the car service app Gett ran a campaign in 2015 tearing apart the leading car service Uber, usually criticizing Uber's surging prices. This included ad copies like, "The competition, who we will not name, is über ripping you off." Other ads target Uber by name: "Subjectively, we're objectively better than Uber."
  • In France in late 2016, a company called Chauffeur Privé (private driver) ran a campaign directly attacking Uber and their practices like tax dodging, using harsh words like "uberration".
  • When Ford unveiled their all-electric pick-up truck, Ford F-150 Lightning, they said that it was "designed to look like a truck". A clear gab at Tesla's Cybertruck, which many have decried as not looking like a truck.

    Video Games 
  • Blur had an ad with a cutesy Mario Kart style race, with one of the racers watching Blur's races with longing. The ad's tagline was "Race like a big boy".
  • The Sega Genesis was known for its famous advertising campaign "Genesis Does What Nintendon't," targeting the leading competitor, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. They eventually softened up and dropped the slogan after a while.
  • The Atari Jaguar used some of its condescending advertising to demean its competitors with its "64-bit" consolenote , which has been considered instrumental in its failure.
  • The Console Wars were full of mudslinging in the 90s.
    • Sega, of course, had the "Genesis does what Nintendon't" slogan. After it had run its course, they started pushing the Genesis's "Blast Processing" (marketing speak for its faster processor, a combination 7.6 mhz Motorola 68000 and 3.58 mhz Zilog Z80, versus the SNES's single 3.58 mhz Ricoh 5A22, which helped Genesis games run slightly faster their Super Nintendo counterparts). Advertising used gameplay from Super Mario Kart as an example of how "slow" Nintendo's games were.
    • The launch commercials for Donkey Kong Country just points out that the game can only be found on the Super Nintendo, not on Sega systems, the 32X adapter, or any of the CD systems at the time.
    • Final Fantasy VII was published by Sony for its U.S. release. One of its magazine ads was a jab at how the Nintendo 64 was cartridge-based.
  • A Panasonic 3DO Interactive Multiplayer commercial from the mid-1990s depicted a Sega Genesis and SNES being dropped into a toy box, insinuating that those systems are simply children's playthings, with the narration "If you're not playing with a Panasonic 3DO system, then what are you playing with?" The commercial then cuts to footage from various 3DO games, then it cuts back to the toy box with the narration saying something along the lines of "It's time to put away your toys." It then abruptly cuts to a picture of the 3DO logo as we hear a gunshot.
  • At the 2013 E3, Microsoft announced that it would allow publishers making games for the Xbox to prevent used games from working or people from sharing games and other intrusive DRM policies. Sony responded with a devastatingly short ad where sharing a Playstation 4 game simply involved handing the disk over to another person.
  • A Sega CD commercial featuring rapper Chill E.B. opened with him yelling, "Hey! You still don't own a Sega CD? What're you waiting for, Nintendo to make one?!"
  • Ads for Crash Bandicoot (1996) on the original PlayStation had a guy dressed as Crash show up at Nintendo headquarters with a megaphone, to taunt "Plumber-Boy". "You're hurting my elbow!" When Crash started appearing on Nintendo consoles, Nintendo Power had a faux-interview with Crash in which this trope was lampshaded with Crash saying something to the effect that his antics in the commercial were "Nothing personal, it was all business-related."
  • Commercials for the Sega Game Gear would often mock the Game Boy's monochrome screen:
    • One commercial had the announcer compare people who bought the Game Boy to dogs by having a dog stare at the two handhelds, with the announcer saying "If you were colorblind and had an IQ of less than 12, then you wouldn't care which portable you had. Of course, you wouldn't care if you drank from the toilet, either."
    • Another commercial had the announcer compare people who bought the Game Boy to hillbillies by having them stare at flies being killed by a bug zapper while the announcer says, "Some people are content to be entertained by simple one-color electronics, but somehow these people have just never heard of Game Gear."
    • Yet another commercial had a newscaster report on people actually throwing their Game Boys away, and urge them to recycle them by giving them practical uses such as fixing wobbly chairs, massaging cats, spreading cheese, tenderizing meat, or even picking up dog poop.
    • Yet another commercial had a boy in the park (played by Ethan Suplee) hit himself in the head with a rigid, dead squirrel to see color on his Game Boy, before the announcer says, "Hey, there's an easier way to get color! Get a Game Gear!"
    • When the Game Boy started to appear in different color variants, yet another Game Gear commercial mocked this by having a professor warn the viewers that this is a gimmick to distract the players from the Game Boy's monochrome graphics, and that next Nintendo might try disguising them in flower-print dresses, black leather restraining devices, or even fresh-baked olive loaf. The professor then tells the viewers that the Game Gear has a black outside and hundreds of games with colorful graphics inside.
  • At 2001's E3 conference in Los Angeles, while Sony was having problems with not having enough PlayStation 2's on the shelves, Sega drove a truck around the parking lot with a large message printed on the side: "Our condolences to Sony regarding their console shortage problems." This was accompanied by an even bigger picture of a young boy sticking his tongue out.
  • Atari also got in on the anti-Game Boy ads when it launched the Lynx handheld. One of the ads had three characters with colorful Lynx-style graphics saying they liked Lynx better and one Game Boy graphics character saying it liked Game Boy better.
  • Microsoft's Xbox 360 campaigning was full of shots at the PS3. Highlights were crashing Sony's live broadcast launch party held on a ship by parking another ship in the background with a large Xbox 360 poster on the side, and Microsoft employees offering chairs for people queuing up for game stores on launch day, each chair decorated with an advert for a website where you could read Microsoft's sympathies for people having to wait in rain when they could have just played a 360 ages before.
  • A PlayStation 3 ad featuring Kevin Butler hyped up the PS Move controller while taking a few potshots at Microsoft's Kinect motion gaming tech, saying that the Move has buttons, and that's pretty important for shooters like SOCOM. In the runup to the Move launch, Sony put up a website called that gushed about how important buttons were in video gaming. They're not even bothering to be subtle against Kinect. Then a commercial aired on TV that had him saying "Dear PlayStation: People think motion control is for little kids!"
  • NiGHTS into Dreams…: One ad for the game ends with a PlayStation being thrown off a skyscraper while the narrator taunts it with "fly, PlayThing, fly."
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic the Hedgehog: One advertisement for the game revolves around a sleazy Nintendo employee trying to get a boy to buy Super Mario World, only for the boy to repeatedly insist that he wants Sonic the Hedgehog instead thanks to its high-speed gameplay, with the Nintendo employee becoming increasingly desperate as a result. The ad was so iconic that Sega eventually recreated it for Sonic Mania Plus, replacing Super Mario World with a nondescript FPS.
    • Sonic X-treme: The game's E3 1996 trailer depicts Mario as a mob boss accosting his cronies for being unable to catch Sonic, only for said underlings to explain that Sonic's now "bigger and badder than before" and able to outmaneuver them at every step. The trailer ends with large text reading "MARIO WHO?" and an exasperated Mario sighing "Sega..." Ironically, the game was never released.

  • frequently has characters excuse their not using a job website by saying they went to one that was "monstrously complicated," a jab at job site
  • An ad for criticizes a "monstrously monstrous" job website for being useless when looking for local employees.
  • An ad for actually works the "" metaphor to the point where people in their radio ads are having one-sided conversations with a monster that sounds [and apparently behaves] like Taz.

  • Car donation charity 1-800-Charity-Cars had a radio ad that began with a Suspiciously Similar Song to the infamous Kars-4-Kids jingle, only for everyone else to react with disgust at having to hear another annoying jingle.
  • Somewhere, a small-town gym chain ran a radio ad bragging about its unpretentiousness. It ended with the narrator saying "So, if you think you're made of gold or from another planet, you may not like it here." This is a shot at major gym chains Gold's Gym and Planet Fitness.
  • When the Planet Fitness gym chain was promoting itself as a safe space for people who were not much into body-building, professional weight lifter, Steve Pulcinella, made this ad in response to promote his owned Iron Sport Gym. Steve gives a tour of the facilities to a skinny guy who just wants to get a bit toned, who gets progressively scared by the extreme strength workouts and ends up being thrown out by Steve. The tagline is "Come to our planet."
    Guy: What planet am I on?
    Steve: The wrong one!
  • Two airlines in India had a billboard war in 2007. Jet Airways first put up a billboard advertising their new branding, saying "We've changed". Kingfisher Airlines replied by putting a banner right above Jet's, saying "We've made them change". Jet Airways responded by changing their banner below, saying "Take off to New York daily", advertising their newly-announced flights to New York. In response, Kingfisher said "They've flown from here to New York" in their banner. Hilarious in Hindsight when you find that most of Kingfisher Airlines' business model was full of Take Thats at the competition and ultimately went deep into debt and ceased operations.
  • The Transformers took part in ripping into their competitors (mainly The GoBots) by devoting an entire commercial to it. With Megatron, Optimus Prime, and the announcer outright proclaiming that only they deserve the right to be called Transformers.
  • There were a series of magazine ads for sports cards from Topps, Upper Deck, and Wizards of the Coast that took rather blatant shots at the trading card games for Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! (never mind that Wizards of the Coast was also publishing the Pokémon TCG at the time).
  • A Blue Buffalo commercial boasted that their dog treats were meatier than the competing Milkbone brand, which they accused of being made with wheat flour. In it, the dog owner pushes the Milkbone treat bag aside to get to the Blue Buffalo treat bag instead.
  • Little Tokyo's (also known as Little Japs), a series of Blind Bag Collectables, had a commercial that starts with the figurines attacking silhouettes of the Gogo's Crazy Bones, a similar competing product at the time.
  • A 1989 commercial for the Warner Bros. catalogue which featured one of Mel Blanc's final performances as Daffy Duck ends with Daffy getting annoyed that the director's chair he got for his dressing room from the catalogue says Donald Duck instead.
    Daffy: That's DAFFY! DAFFY DUCK! I can't believe you'd mithtake a big thtar like me for that other duck who can't even talk thtrait!

Parodies and In-Universe Examples:

    Live-Action TV 
  • Downplayed in Cobra Kai. Daniel LaRusso's advertisement for Miyagi-do Karate alludes to a snake in the advertisement, symbolizing an attack against Johnny Lawrence's Cobra Kai dojo.
  • Saturday Night Live:
  • In one episode of the BBC Edutainment series Think Again, Johnny Ball makes a fake advert for a sweet manufacturer, which consists entirely of saying how horrible another company's sweets are, to illustrate that you're not allowed to do this.

    Video Games 
  • Borderlands: One of the lines that come from Marcus's gun vending machine is a potshot from Torgue towards rival brand Jakobsnote :
    400 percent more awesome! Also, Torgue doesn't make their guns out of freakin' wood.
  • Borderlands 2: One of the Hyperion-owned New-U Station messages that play once the player respawns say that "hell is reserved exclusively for pedophiles, and people who buy Jakobs munitions".

    Web Video 
  • Mike K. Polk's second Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Video parodied this with its memetic ending slogan, "At least we're not Detroit!" It has even been sold as a T-shirt and is somewhat of a point of pride for Clevelandites.
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd:
    • The Nerd parodied the commercials for the Sega Genesis in his "Sega Genesis Vs. SNES" video. In his commercial, the Nerd is playing a SNES until an announcer says, "Hey, kid! You still playing Super Nintendo? Look what Sega Genesis has got!" After a montage of Sega Genesis games is shown to rock music, the announcer says "And Super Nintendo has got this." and shows a clip of Baby Mario crying in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island.
    • The Sega CD review opens with a parody of a real ad for the system, in which a black man appears on a dimwitted kid's TV and says "Hey! You still don't own a Sega CD? What are you waiting for, Nintendo to make one? You have seen the games, right?" before blasting the kid with fast-paced clips from the Sega CD's library. In the parody, both characters are played by the Nerd (with the man receiving a Race Lift as a result).
  • SMPLive: Until April, Connor's ice shop featured a sign out front that says "cheapest ice in town", a shot at Cooper, who also sold ice at spawn. When Cooper stops selling ice, the sign is changed to read "ONLY ice in town" instead.

    Western Animation 
  • Bob's Burgers: In "Easy Com-mercial, Easy Go-mercial," Bob gets NFL player Sandy Frye to star in the restaurant's Super Bowl commercial, saying he'll be at Bob's after the game. Unfortunately, Bob's rival Jimmy Pesto also enlists Frye for his Super Bowl ad, and makes a point that Frye will be at the pizzeria instead of "some stupid greasy burger shack."
  • BoJack Horseman: The Cold Open for "Chickens" shows two commercials for chicken restaurants. One is a cheap fast food place called Chicken-4-Dayz, a parody of Kentucky Fried Chicken. The other, Gentle Farms, begins its own commercial by calling out how Chicken-4-Dayz keeps chickens in tiny cages and pumps them full of hormones. Since the Gentle Farms farmer is a chicken himself, he promises they give the chickens on his farm a more fulfilling life. As the episode continues, however, it becomes clear that the treatment of meat in the show's universe is inhumane in any case, since the Carnivore Confusion is resolved by breeding and genetically modifying sentient animals to become meat instead.
  • Futurama: In "Future Stock," the 1980s guy taking over Planet Express creates a Dada Ad based on Apple's "1984" commercial against IBM, targeting Planet Express's main competitor MomCorp.
  • In-Universe in The Simpsons episode "Mr. Plow," when Barney starts his Plow King commercial by destroying a wooden cutout of Homer, who runs the competing plowing company Mr. Plow. Linda Ronstadt joins Barney in singing a song that accuses Mr. Plow of being an alcoholic loser.

This sure is a lot more fun to read than Wikipedia pages, isn't it?