With the growth of technology and the internet, marketing is one of the industries that has been inundated with new players. Additionally, there are so many tools, platforms and tactics to use, while we are also able to increasingly filter out our target audience.

Such progress provides a structure for marketers to be incredibly creative and unique with the campaigns they create.

We are also now in a world that relies on sharing content, which results in almost unlimited information for marketers to tap into. While in some ways this is brilliant, I feel it also leads to a lack of unique thinking. With so many sources of information available about how to succeed on Facebook, how to write a marketing plan, or best practices for digital campaigns (to note some common examples), I tend to see a lot repetition.

The marketing world is flooded with generalities and common practices, and yes, it’s because we know certain processes work and consistency provides value. But at the same time, with so much competition and noise in the marketing industry, there is more and more need for marketers to be original and creative.

BMW and Audi show us how it’s done

Take the 2009 billboard battle between BMW and Audi in Santa Monica as an inspired example. Three years on, and it’s still being highlighted as one of the best billboard ad campaigns ever created. It started with a ‘Check Mate’ billboard campaign from Audi for the new A4, challenging BMW to develop a better product.

BMW welcomed the challenge. Targeting the Audi billboard on Santa Monica Boulevard, they responded by putting up a much larger billboard on the other side of the street.

Not to be outdone, Audi continued the Chess theme and erected an even larger billboard, to the right of the BMW ad.

At this point, these brands have created a story for the consumer to follow, and the cheeky, competitive nature of the campaign is sure to draw the attention of every driver and pedestrian that passes through – not to mention the millions on the internet that soon came to know about this battle.

With no more room for a billboard, but wanting to get the last word, the BMW marketing team (working with independent advertising agency Juggernaut Advertising)  got creative.

While many brands may have called it quits after the first billboard or two, BMW and Audi have shown a creativity all marketers should aspire to. As marketers, we should challenge ourselves not to simply follow the trodden path, but to create our own.

Ask yourself, when was the last time you got really creative with a campaign? When was the last time you sat down and brainstormed – really brainstormed – as to how you can stand out from the crowd?