What Is Unfair Advertising? Definition of Unfair Advertising, Unfair Advertising Meaning and Concept

Unfair advertising is that type of advertising that seeks to belittle or highlight negative qualities of a competitor.

It is common to see unfair advertising actions in advertising campaigns aimed at criticizing or attacking rival companies, in commercial brand wars or even in day-to-day political and institutional communication. Contrary to traditional advertising , which focuses specifically on presenting the benefits of a certain product, unfair advertising tries to present the faults of competitors.

The messages are considered unfair because they directly or indirectly present disadvantages of a competing product or another company, regardless of publicizing the benefits of the advertiser. By undervaluing competing companies, the advertising company seeks to promote greater awareness or commercial success of its own products.

Along with misleading and subliminal advertising , they make up the different types of illicit advertising .

Main characteristics of unfair advertising

The most outstanding features of this type of advertising are the following:

  • Pursue the discredit or undervaluation of competitors.
  • It uses marketing tools aimed at comparing products and their different virtues.
  • Play with brands, symbols, commercial phrases or packaging from other firms.
  • It can cause a drop in customer loyalty, the opposite of what was intended.
  • It is common in markets with a small number of companies and a high level of competition. As is the case with duopolies , for example.

Data accuracy as the boundary between fair and unfair advertising

It is important to note that talking about other brands in an advertising campaign is not strictly illegal or unfair, since that is what comparative advertising deals with . In other words, it is defended that a firm cannot, through marketing, damage the image of the rest and compete unfairly using lies or contempt.

Unfair advertising is considered as such when the data provided on the site is erroneously shown knowingly to undermine the competitor. For example, talking about food components in an ad for bags of chips stating that the main competitor has more fat content and that data is false.