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The Parity Product: Advertising's Achilles Heel

E. John Kottman
Journal of Advertising
Vol. 6, No. 1 (Winter, 1977), pp. 34-39
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4188089
Page Count: 6
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Abstract

Relatively little has been written about parity product advertising in spite of the fact that a growing amount of advertising is for products that are not significantly different from competitors'. The lifeblood of successful national advertising is product differentiation; yet parity products are not all that different. Hence advertising creators use a variety of techniques to differentiate the similar. These communications are not the kinds of straightforward, informative, impeccably honest messages increasingly demanded of the advertising community. They are more akin to poetry than to product information. The parity product, then, makes advertising vulnerable to criticism from those who want it to be what it apparently cannot be.

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