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What bugs most people about advertising involving product comparisons? We think it all hangs on this: Fairness – or the lack thereof.

Whenever we’re faced with an ad proclaiming a product is superior to another similar product we immediately become skeptical. We just don’t believe a manufacturer of an advertised product would say anything less than their product is superior to all competitors.

Comments like: “The competitive vehicle was not set-up properly” or “the advertisers vehicle was a ringer” is pretty much our default position when exposed to comparisons.

Face it, we’re a generation raised on pick-up truck commercials with Ford, Chevy and Ram duking it out towing a boat or hauling a heavy load with an obvious winner proclaimed.

Unfortunately, we’re increasingly cynical about these comparisons and often downright indifferent, discounting them as nothing more than biased or plain inaccurate.

Enter what Polaris calls the COE: Competitive Owner Evaluation. The idea isn’t completely new; the auto business has been using the COE concept for the past two years and it’s working. Maybe you’ve seen Ford’s series of “Challenges”, more specifically the Eco-Boost Challenge and the F-150 Challenge. These are now classic examples of the COE concept.

So what is a COE? The COE template completely removes competitive product and replaces it with the competitive product owner – thus the letters C and O for Competitive Owner.

COEs don’t carry credibility-undermining baggage from pitting one snowmobile brand against another in supposed “fair” evaluations or tests. Instead the COE concept takes real-world owners of competitive snowmobiles and draws on their frame of reference (FOR) to validate the advertiser’s sled.

In the case of the Polaris AXYS Experience COE, Arctic Cat, Ski-Doo and Yamaha owners rode the all-new Polaris AXYS chassis in its MY2015 variants, for three days. The competitive owners’ personalities, level of enthusiasm, experience and knowledge almost literally become the competitive snowmobile.

There’s no need to have a raft of comparable sleds present when the owners of the competitive brands are the commentators, describing the technology and performance they experienced on the AXYS. Click on the link to the Axys Experience video and see what we mean.

The icing on the cake is this fact: These are real people snowmobilers can identify with. Their opinions are not derived from head-to-head drag races or top end pulls with an AXYS pitted against a competitive snowmobile but rather, from their frame of reference. From what we can see, this makes all the difference.

Polaris is onto something here. The participants in the “AXYS Experience” COE generated hundreds of genuine comments from a group of owners who ride competitive brands. These real snowmobilers are easy for us to identify with.

All of them have lots of experience with their brand and thus viewers and readers immediately – and strongly – identify with these competitive brand owners.

Going forward this is going to get interesting. The COE format builds strong credibility for the AXYS. It’s almost like walking into your local trailside pit stop and yacking it up with friends you respect.

Check out these COE videos…

AXYS Comfort – Polaris Snowmobiles

AXYS Power – Polaris Snowmobiles

AXYS Handling – Polaris Snowmobiles

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