Originally Posted by badtux
One of my early advertising gurus told me that one of the Iron Rules of advertising is, "never mention your competitors by name in your ads or documentation, it just gives them free advertising." The Apple antenna thing was incredibly petty and unprofessional, and violated a cardinal rule of advertising for no good reason other than to sooth the Steve's ego a bit that his phone was no more crappy than anybody else's phone. I mean, what was the message -- "all phones are crappy and the iPhone is no more crappy than the competition"? What kinda message is that? You're supposed to be highlighting where you're *better* than the competition, not where you're *as crappy* as the competition!
Its a good general rule not to mention your competitor. Its not only because youre giving them free advertising but also because it can be seen as an attack ad, like we see in the US with any political campaign, which can make you look petty, but its not an absolute and there are valid times to use it.
Besides the comparative antenna videos Apple also used a competitors name with the Get a Mac ads, but note that they didnt mention Windows, just a generic PC, until Vistas general perception had turned bad.
The antenna page is pretty much the opposite end of the same thing. They were showing that they were not alone before the public perception turned bad for all time. It may have been too late or not needed at all, depending on your PoV, but its still a viable tactic for advertisers to consider.