Best Competitive Plays of 2023

These made me smile

Here were my favorite competitive plays of 2023.

No, I don’t know what the ROI was for these.

But they made me smile :-) Hope you have fun scrolling through these and get inspired for 2024.

COMPETITIVE GANG-UPS OF THE YEAR

The world vs. Twitter / X

Mark Zuckerberg’s first tweet in over a decade—the day that Meta launched Threads.

Sam Altman roasted X’s ChatGPT clone, Grok.

Even Tumblr came out of the woodwork to pile onto the Twitter Blue backlash.

Prime Video & Blockbuster vs. Netflix’s Password Crackdown

COMPETITIVE PRODUCT LAUNCH OF THE YEAR

Gong Engage vs. Legacy Sales Engagement Tools

Revenue Intelligence provider, Gong, released a Sales Engagement product earlier this year. Instead of pretending like it was the only product of its kind, they went with a different angle to differentiate themselves from competitors in the market—”last mover advantage.”

COMPETITIVE CAMPAIGNS OF THE YEAR

Heinz vs. cheap alternatives

Heinz didn’t call out a specific competitor for their “Ketchup Fraud” campaign. Instead, they brought attention to the fact that customers are so in love with their product, that restaurants need to hide if they use cheaper alternatives.

Peet’s vs. competing coffee brands

In late Fall, Peet's Coffee accepted rewards points from competing coffee brands for a limited time, and promoted it as a “Disloyalty Program.”

Brilliant messaging: "We know that coffee people can be a bit promiscuous in their hunt for a great cup. So, we wanted to reward them for their loyalty to the drink because, no matter where else you get your coffee, coffee people deserve great coffee."

BLOOD-IN-THE-WATER AWARD

Codi vs. WeWork

The URL to this landing page is literally codi.com/wework-relief-fund lol.

Honorable Mention: Marc Benioff vs. OpenAI

I don’t think Marc ended up poaching any OpenAI employees, but kudos to him for trying.

BEST SCRAPPY COMPETITIVE PLAY

Capsule vs. Descript, Veed, Adobe, and Canva

Every startup should do something like this.

• low barrier to entry for people to get involved

• it highlights the startup's one big differentiator

• as more people comment, it adds fuel to the engagement / awareness

• not a massive investment ($1,000)... but large enough for folks to take a minute to read through the post and take a guess

• it's FUN

BEST USE OF COMPETITIVE SOCIAL PROOF

Arc Browser vs. Google Chrome

It’d be hard to find a better competitive proof point than that quote from The Verge. So good that Arc didn’t even need to write their own home page headline.

UNCONVENTIONAL COMPETITIVE PLAY OF THE YEAR

Thursday vs. pearº

Sometimes we… accidentally create our own competitors?

Loved this framing. Such a cool way of growing your TAM. Thanks, Stella, for sharing this one with me!

BEST COMPETITIVE BILLBOARDS

Equals vs. Excel

Very good copy + puns. We’re here for it.

BEST COMPETITIVE VIDEO SERIES

Google Pixel vs. iPhone

These are probably the cutest competitive videos I’ve ever seen.

BEST COMPETITIVE COMEBACK

Intercom vs. Zendesk

2022: Intercom re-appoints Co-Founder Eoghan McCabe to CEO and calls out Zendesk.

2023: McCabe announced that Intercom closed the last large product gap that Zendesk had against them.

Ok it’s getting late and I need to go to sleep. I had a ton of fun compiling this list and definitely forgot/missed a bunch of others that should’ve been included.

If you think of any others, would you send them to me? We’ll geek out on them together.

💚Andy

P.S. If you liked this, consider listening to the Healthy Competition podcast or joining the community!