The Moments Company Rivalries Turned Personal

List Rules
Vote up the most cutthroat moments that turned competing companies into bitter rivals.

There is space for everyone in the market today and yet company feuds abound. We know about many of them - but do we truly know about the turning points in company feuds?

How did it all begin? What is the story behind how famous companies started really going for the jugular? And how did it make famous brands or ideas turn into serious missteps? The stories behind some of the most public company feuds are both surprising and brutal. Vote up the stories that make you want to gasp and clutch your pearls because of how personal the attacks were.


  • The classic supercar rivalry between Ferrari and Lamborghini started with some constructive criticism that was not entirely welcome. As the story goes, Ferruccio Lamborghini built his fortunes through tractors and farm equipment. To show off his wealth, he bought Ferraris but kept burning the clutch.

    After multiple expensive visits to the showroom to fix the clutch, Lamborghini finally decided to fix it on his own. When they opened up the clutch of the Ferrari, they discovered that the clutch was the same as the one used in Lamborghini's tractors. The tractor-maker was not amused, considering he paid 1,000 lira for a 10 lira part. The next time he met Enzo Ferrari, he told him, "You build your beautiful cars with my tractor parts."

    Ferrari was incensed by the implication that he was building his cars with less-than-stellar parts, and told off Lamborghini, asking him to stick to farming. According to Valentino Balboni, a longtime test-driver who worked with both the Italian legends and witnessed the rivalry firsthand, Lamborghini took this as a challenge. Balboni said Lamborghini told Ferrari, "Oh, yes, I am a farmer! I'll show you how to make a sports car and I will do a sports car by myself... To show you how a sports car has to be."

    Just four months later, the V12 Lamborghini 350 GTV was unveiled at the 1963 Turin Motor Show - and the supercar rivalry officially began.

    396 votes
  • Disney's Reluctance To Promote Jeffrey Katzenberg Gave Rise To DreamWorks SKG
    Photo: Flickr / Flickr

    Walt Disney Studios is one of the biggest content creators of today, including animated and live-action films, shows, and shorts. In the animation field, one of its biggest competitors is DreamWorks Animation SKG, and the events behind that company's inception sparked the rivalry.

    Jeffrey Katzenberg was a longtime chairman at Disney and had helped in the revival Disney animation needed in the 1980s. But there were some rough spots throughout his rise in the company, and in '94, the Walt Disney Company announced that he had resigned. Katzenberg had wanted to be promoted to president, but his bid was rejected. In an interiew, Katzenberg stated, "It never got to an offer. It was not about a job opening. It was about an opportunity and a type of partnership that really wasn't in the cards."

    Later, he joined forces with Steven Spielberg and founded DreamWorks, and tried to be his former company's largest rival. DreamWorks has had many critically acclaimed films, including Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon, Chicken Run, and others.

    Katzenberg even tried to beat Disney at its own game, seemingly mimicking some of its concepts. For example, DreamWorks released Antz just six weeks before Disney's A Bug's Life. In doing so, he irritated many people at his rival company, including Pixar's John Lasseter, who was unhappy with Antz's production.

    194 votes
  • Duracell And Energizer Went Head-To-Head Over The Use Of Their Battery Bunny Mascots
    Photo: Flickr / Flickr

    Duracell and Energizer are two of the most popular and well-known battery companies in the world. And the Energizer Bunny, a cool, pink bunny that pounds a drum to show how long-lasting Energizer batteries are, is one of the most recognizable company mascots. However, Duracell actually had a pink, battery-powered bunny mascot first. 

    In the 1970s, Duracell used a pink bunny in an advertising campaign, and it wasn't until 1989 that Energizer used a pink bunny as a mascot. 

    The two companies began to feud over the mascot situation. So, how did Energizer end up winning the battle even though Duracell had the mascot first? Energizer got its "battery bunny" trademarked while Duracell failed to renew its US trademark. It was determined that both companies could continue to use their pink bunnies, but Duracell had to stop using its mascot in the US. 

    194 votes
  • Rudolf and Adolf Dassler made their first sneakers in their parents' room. Soon enough, their company, the Dassler Brothers Sports Shoe Company, had found success, particularly when their shoes were worn in the 1936 Olympic Games by several winning athletes.

    Tensions between the brothers arose as WWII began, and shortly thereafter, Adolf avoided the draft because it was deemed that he was needed at home in order to run the company. Rudolf, however, was not so lucky, and was drafted, which incensed him. He believed his brother was seeking to take over the business, cutting him out completely. Rudolph attempted to go AWOL to solidify his position in the company, but was captured by the gestapo and imprisoned. 

    In 1948, the brothers decided to divide the company and split up the assets. Adolf founded Adidas, and Rudolph started Puma. 

    The very town they lived in was also split right down the middle when the two new companies were started - people either wore Adidas or Puma. Never both, and certainly not in the town of Herzogenaurach, where both companies sponsored different teams. This strict division continued until the death of the brothers in the 1970s, though the town still feels it today.

    171 votes
  • Häagen-Dazs Tried To Force Distributors Not To Sell Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream
    Photo: Flickr / Flickr

    Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield opened Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream Scoop Shop with a $12,000 investment in 1978. While they only intended to run an ice cream shop in a renovated gas station, as demand grew, they began to deliver hand-packed pints to grocery stores in 1980. By 1984, they were bringing in millions of dollars in annual sales, which sparked great competition with another ice cream giant, Häagen-Dazs.

    When Häagen-Dazs felt it was losing too much of the market, it started to play dirty in an attempt to edge Ben & Jerry’s out. One of its toughest moves? Häagen-Dasz threatened distributors, telling them that if they sold Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, they could not sell Häagen-Dazs anymore.

    The threat wasn't able to do much in terms of taking the competition out, however. Ben & Jerry's swiftly filed a lawsuit and launched a campaign with the slogan, "What's the Doughboy afraid of?" a dig at Häagen-Dazs' parent company's mascot. Both of these retaliations worked in Ben & Jerry's favor, and both premium ice cream companies are still thriving today, although they remain cautious of their competition.

    141 votes
  • Pointed Challenges And Commercials Turned The Cola Wars Personal
    Photo: Flickr / Flickr

    Coca-Cola was established in 1886 by a pharmacist. Shortly after, the recipe was sold to another pharmacist who created the Coca-Cola Company, and the soft drink took off. In the wake of its popularity, a competing soda was created under the name "Brad's Drink," which was quickly changed to Pepsi-Cola. 

    For many years, Coca-Cola was far more popular and had much better marketing strategies that continued to entice consumers to indulge in its beverage over the offerings of its competitors. That is, until Pepsi launched the "Pepsi Challenge" taste test in 1975.

    For the challenge, everyday consumers were blindfolded and given a sip of both cola brands. Then, they were asked to choose which they liked the taste of better. During this challenge, it became obvious that based on taste alone, most consumers would lean toward the sweeter Pepsi, thus beginning the Cola Wars

    162 votes