Can you use a competitor’s image against them?

There's a fine legal line between parody and infringement. Your company needs to be aware of it when designing custom logo decals and other crucial marketing pieces. But is there a way for your business to get leverage out of poking fun at the competition, especially when both you and they are well-known in your field?

The obvious examples of this can be seen with Microsoft, Google and Apple, three major companies that have generated lots of friction in their competition. Recently, a commercial for Microsoft's own voice-commanded AI, Cortana, pit it against Apple's well-known Siri.

In the video, the two devices are placed alongside each other, with Siri proving overly clunky while Cortana is elegant and diverse: although Siri is not mentioned by name, the reference is unmistakable. It even ends with the Apple program saying "now THAT is a smart phone!" in reference to the "winner."

Microsoft tried a series of similarly themed ads against another rival, Google, which it criticized for internet security practices that it said left users "Scroogled." This campaign, which incorporated the familiar colorful Google lettering, left a cultural mark but has been criticized by sources like PCNet's Brad Chacos, who said he "loathed the negativity" of the ads. That hasn't stopped the word "scroogled" from sticking around, though, as its even lent itself to the URL of a website that argues against the Google Chromebook.

Companies who try to go the spoof route to mock their opponents will have to face this dilemma themselves: how to be funny and critical without seeming mean.

Although it's not the only way to get the message out there, a business that makes vinyl signs per your specific instructions can help you get the exact desired effect.