Japan tiptoes toward comparative ads

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TOKYO-When General Motors asked Japanese consumers to “compare our Seville’s fuel efficiency with Infmiti’s” in seven major newspapers last year, it was an example of a growing trend in advertising that defies the traditions of this nation.
Last week, computer makers NEC and Compaq squared off in comparative ads in yet another example of a trend toward comparative advertising in what amounts to a volteface in this country where direct confrontation is taboo.
General Motors’ attempt to upgrade the image of American cars among Japanese consumers took the form of a subtle but unmistakable comparison of such issues as quality,...

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