Greggs & Google, BMW & Audi, Heathrow & Schiphol: When brands troll brands

With rival airports Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol reviving their cake-based social media banter this week, PRWeek looks at when brands troll brands.

Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport have been gently trolling each other for some time now, with the latter poking fun at delays over a decision about the London airport’s future. Schiphol famously tweeted a picture of a cake that it sent to Heathrow say thanks for the extra traffic while the decision on its third runway was delayed.

Neither airport wasted time reviving the cake-based trolling once the decision on Heathrow’s third runway was made on Tuesday:

This is far from the first time that brands and corporations, often rivals, have aired their real or exaggerated grievances in a public forum, usually with a light-hearted tone. PRWeek rounds up some of the best...

Greggs and Google

Greggs won plaudits for its humourous handling of a genuine PR problem. A faulty Google SEO algorithm meant a satirical version of the brand’s website – featuring the slogan "providing shit to scum for over 70 years" – appeared in searches.

The hashtag #FixGreggs began trending and the bakery chain responded:

Google entered into the spirit:

Once the problem was resolved, Greggs signed off with this memorable tweet:

Amazon and Zomato

Amazon cheekily mocked ratings site Zomato after it changed its logo several times in a short space of time. The former’s account in India published the below tweet, linking it to Aur Dikhao, the concept of changing one’s mind as a consumer. Banter ensued.

BMW and Audi

Audi trolled rival BMW with this outdoor ad in Santa Monica, US:

BMW used the same medium for its response:

Carlsberg and Protein World

Sports and nutrition retailer Protein World came in for much criticism for its Beach Body Ready ads when they appeared on the London Underground and elsewhere last year:

Brewer Carlsberg couldn’t resist a cheeky response:

And finally... Burger King and McDonald’s

This doesn’t technically count as a two-way trolling, but it’s worth flagging up. It could have been so perfect, but McDonald’s didn’t take the bait when Burger King suggested the fast food giants collaborate to create the McWhopper as a symbolic gesture for Peace Day:

McDonald’s clearly did not want to join in the fun, and its response has been criticised for being a bit on the passive aggressive side. Shame.

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