7 of the biggest brand feuds in history
Whether it’s two brands fighting for the same audience or brands across industries staking a claim, feuds have a way of making headlines, for better or for worse.
Some brands never come back from the devastating fights, scandals, and lawsuits that they get hit with. But others remain resilient and fight to reclaim the narrative and put themselves in the good graces of their consumers.
These six instances show some of the most infamous feuds and fights in brand history — and how easily they could have changed these brands forever had they ended differently.
20th Century Fox vs. Universal Studios
In 1977, 20th Century Fox released a film you might be familiar with — “Star Wars.” It was a big hit, of course. And it inspired many other brands to venture into space for their own television content.
That’s where Universal Studios comes in with the creation of their show “Battlestar Galactica.” This was another story about space travel and the adventures that ensue. And it really angered the people at 20th Century Fox.
20th Century Fox ended up filing a lawsuit against Universal Studios claiming copyright infringement due to similar space-themed adventure storylines. In the end, the case was settled out of court and the show ran for two years before it was canceled in 1979.
But the years-long feud really put pressure on both studios, and had Universal Studios lost the case, they could have been in financial ruin.
Amazon vs. Hachette (and other book publishers)
In the late 2000s, Amazon — one of the biggest e-commerce brands that exists today — started expanding its offering and honing in on its market ventures. One area where the brand was making major money was in book publishing.
Specifically, e-book sales. Amazon was quickly growing in popularity thanks to the creation of the Amazon Kindle and other e-readers. But the problem here was that Amazon was able to set the prices of these e-books, and not the actual publishers who published them, according to The New Yorker.
This left the publishing world in shambles, with quickly diminishing sales and a growing hatred for the e-commerce powerhouse.
Hachette decided, however, that enough was enough and started a war with the retailer, who in turn began a series of “bullying” techniques including cutting prices, requiring longer shipping and more for the publisher’s own content, according to The LA Times.
This feud was intense, and lasted years. But in 2014, the two brands came together and forged an agreement that allowed Hachette to set its own prices.
But the fallout still hit both hard, with consumers and retailers walking away from Amazon and sales dropping for Hachette, according to The New York Times.
Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi
Coca-Cola and Pepsi are two brands synonymous with one-upping and competitive shenanigans. Everyone knows it, and everyone has chosen a side. But the Cola Wars goes back decades and is tied to a series of cringe-worthy stunts and ad campaigns that left both sides feeling the heat.
But what started it all was the Pepsi Challenge of 1975.
This promotional campaign required people to do a blind taste test of Coke and Pepsi. And the results were substantial — with more than 50% of people choosing Pepsi over Coke. This took away some of the hype around Coca-Cola products and definitely took away some of the brand’s market share.
This feud still exists today. Both brands have had their triumphs and their failures. Coke released the “New Coke” in the ’80s which was a flop. And both have beefed up their marketing and ad campaign with sponsorships and endorsement to beat the other down.
At the end of the day, both brands are still going strong.
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