Sometimes, you just have to take your hat off to excellent examples of promotional campaigns done right.

With many folks saying advertising is dead, it’s nice to see examples like the two below and say, “Uh, really?”. Especially since both show a mix of cool and (where Audi and BMW are concerned) outright cheek.

The Audi and BMW Billboard Chess Match

This is probably one of my favourite examples of corporate fisticuffs I’ve seen. Below on the left is a billboard ad from German auto manufacturer Audi, and the response from fellow German competitor BMW (click to expand):

Audi versus BMW

Audi’s ad shows their new A4 saloon, with the challenge to BMW of, “Your move”. It’s classic advertising at its best, with a gentle poke at a direct competitor. A competitor that was clearly up for the challenge.

Up steps BMW with their response, a picture of their sporty M3 and the words, “Checkmate.” Brilliantly simple, and one that would end any “mine is bigger than yours” game.

Except Audi have their own sports car heritage, as was quickly evident in the response below (click to expand):

Audi versus BMW sports car battle

In a wonderfully cheeky piece of advertising sass, Audi put up a new billboard with their R8 supercar and the statement, “Your pawn is no match for our king.” Game over, right? not quite.

BMW has a long history in race cars, especially when it comes to Formula 1 racing. And they were more than happy to show this when they brought out a blimp with their F1 race car emblazoned on it along with the words, “Game over.”

Epic. Simply epic.

Note: Audi reached out to advise that the blimp was photoshopped into a screengrab of the billboards. Bugger. Still epic response though. ;-)

The Monsters University

Scheduled for release next summer, Monsters University is the sequel to the massive hit, Monsters Inc. A prequel to the original movie, it looks at the two characters from the original movie and how they met at the titular Monsters University.

Now, normally, movies are pretty good at coming out with cool promotional campaigns, with studios trying to outdo each other on the viral effect. But Pixar and Walt Disney have really come up with something pretty cool for this one.

Monsters University

Instead of the normal movie site, Pixar has gone all out and created a fully functional University website (hat tip to Matt Andaloro for the heads-up on this).

Not only can you explore the School of Scaring, where the Monsters learn their trade, but you can check out the MU sports and athletics teams; get alumni news; check out MU events; and much, much more.

It looks and feels exactly like a University website would, adding to the realism and authenticity of actually spending time with fellow students. Which is exactly what the new movie will be about – result.

The Moral of the Story

As I mentioned at the start, many folks have decreed advertising to be dead, as social media and new media platforms look to share messages differently.

Yet, as these two examples above show, advertising is alive and well, and more creative than many of their social media equivalents.

To the naysayers of advertising and “traditional marketing”, perhaps it’s less the medium that’s dead as much as it’s just crappy advertisers and marketers that are killing creativity.

Then again, that’s true of all mediums, including social media. Here’s to creativity, especially when it’s integrated and not silo’d.

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Danny Brown
Co-author Influence Marketing: How to Create, Manage and Measure Brand Influencers in Social Media Marketing. #1 marketing blog in world as per HubSpot. Husband. Father. Optimist. Pragmatist. Never says no to a good single malt. You can find me on Twitter - Google+ - LinkedIn.
28 comments
Rex Whisman
Rex Whisman

Usually not a big advertising fan, but these campaigns restore hope.

Rex Whisman
Rex Whisman

Usually not a big advertising fan, but these campaigns restore hope.

Sarah Wiley
Sarah Wiley

Great looking work! As a college student majoring in public relations and political science, I find it sad how much advertising is just reduced to Facebook likes and Twitter followers. Even political campaigns are forgetting to get their messages across to non-digital mediums, and many do the bare bones of digital. These fun and creative executions give me hope!

Sarah Wiley
Sarah Wiley

Great looking work! As a college student majoring in public relations and political science, I find it sad how much advertising is just reduced to Facebook likes and Twitter followers. Even political campaigns are forgetting to get their messages across to non-digital mediums, and many do the bare bones of digital. These fun and creative executions give me hope!

geofflivingston
geofflivingston

I love the BMW/Audi campaign even though I own an Audi. Maybe it's time to get that 1. Hmmm, no maybe it's time to stock away for Soleil's college fund!

geofflivingston
geofflivingston

I love the BMW/Audi campaign even though I own an Audi. Maybe it's time to get that 1. Hmmm, no maybe it's time to stock away for Soleil's college fund!

Robert Connor
Robert Connor

Agree with you Danny advertising is not dead and is still very much all around us! Have a great day on purpose...

Robert Connor
Robert Connor

Agree with you Danny advertising is not dead and is still very much all around us! Have a great day on purpose...

Asia Rapai
Asia Rapai

It definitely seems like the fun involved in these campaigns helped the people creating them pull them off. If a person is passionate about the work he or she is doing, it can really show. With the Monsters University website, it seems to really fit with the idea of this prequel that the people who saw the movie as children are now in their twenties. This website will be even more relevant to that audience who is actually in college now. It could even get the younger audiences excited about going to college. Thank you for the interesting post. These are fun campaigns to keep an eye on.

Asia Rapai
Asia Rapai

It definitely seems like the fun involved in these campaigns helped the people creating them pull them off. If a person is passionate about the work he or she is doing, it can really show. With the Monsters University website, it seems to really fit with the idea of this prequel that the people who saw the movie as children are now in their twenties. This website will be even more relevant to that audience who is actually in college now. It could even get the younger audiences excited about going to college. Thank you for the interesting post. These are fun campaigns to keep an eye on.

Bhaskar Sarma
Bhaskar Sarma

I have seen the first campaign before, but the Monsters U is pretty sweet. Right after commenting here I am gonna go over and check it out.

BTW, did you see that cheeky Mexipad video response?

Bhaskar Sarma
Bhaskar Sarma

I have seen the first campaign before, but the Monsters U is pretty sweet. Right after commenting here I am gonna go over and check it out.

BTW, did you see that cheeky Mexipad video response?

Bhaskar Sarma
Bhaskar Sarma

I have seen the first campaign before, but the Monsters U is pretty sweet. Right after commenting here I am gonna go over and check it out. BTW, did you see that cheeky Mexipad video response?

Tinu
Tinu

Bravo Danny. I Bly knew that first story up to "checkmate" --- and the Monsters University site is why I'm not wasting any more time talking to you. ;-)

Tinu
Tinu

Bravo Danny. I Bly knew that first story up to "checkmate" --- and the Monsters University site is why I'm not wasting any more time talking to you. ;-)

Clay Morgan
Clay Morgan

Two great campaigns. I can't help but think the creative teams were probably having an absolute blast, which I suspect fed the campaigns.

Clay Morgan
Clay Morgan

Two great campaigns. I can't help but think the creative teams were probably having an absolute blast, which I suspect fed the campaigns.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Agreed, Sarah - at the end of the day, it's not just about eyeballs and social media buzz. It's about making your customers care about your product - and that seems to be something all three examples in this post get right. Thanks!

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Agreed, Sarah - at the end of the day, it's not just about eyeballs and social media buzz. It's about making your customers care about your product - and that seems to be something all three examples in this post get right. Thanks!

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

I have to say, if there was a site like this when I was a kid, I would have jumped to join in a heartbeat! :)

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

I have to say, if there was a site like this when I was a kid, I would have jumped to join in a heartbeat! :)

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Ha, yep, that was a pretty cool way to respond to a humorous Facebook wall post to start with - well played. :)

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Ha, yep, that was a pretty cool way to respond to a humorous Facebook wall post to start with - well played. :)

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Great point mate - I always find the most creative are the ones that are truly allowed to run with their minds and see what comes of it. Its the stifled that seem stale.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Great point mate - I always find the most creative are the ones that are truly allowed to run with their minds and see what comes of it. Its the stifled that seem stale.

Tinu
Tinu

I'll have my people call your people.