Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018 | 10 min read
Villanova cruised to victory over Michigan for its second title in three seasons, bringing an end to a March Madness filled with exhilarating action, underdog stories, and the emergence of a new superstar, Sister Jean.
What supposedly began with 80 people in a bar in Staten Island, New York in 1977 has evolved into a global phenomenon. In 2017, an estimated 70 million brackets were filled out, totaling $10.4 billion in bets. Television ad revenue alone surpassed the $1 billion mark in 2017. However, it isn’t just the advertising revenue that makes March Madness such a compelling story for brands.
What is it that attracts millions of people who don’t usually care about college basketball to fill out brackets and become obsessed with teams and their compelling backstories every year?
Leading brands have tapped into the popularity of March Madness (and its brackets), creating their very own “One Shining Moment.” Here are four prime examples.
Having enjoyed its starring role in Marvel Studios’ record-breaking “Black Panther”, Lexus seized upon the cultural significance of March Madness to remain top-of-mind with consumers.
For the third year in a row, Lexus sponsored Yahoo Sports’ Tourney Pick’em college bracket selection tool on the Yahoo Fantasy app and re-launched the Lexus “0-60 Bracket Challenge” – a branded game tied to March Madness which promoted the all-new 2018 Lexus RC F.
Each round, players selected which games would reach a combined 60 points the fastest, for an opportunity to win a Lexus-inspired luxury trip for four to Las Vegas during tournament time next season. The app also let mobile users share updates from their brackets with friends on social media directly from their messaging apps.
In addition to branding on the Yahoo Fantasy App, Lexus was featured in 15-second video ads on Yahoo Sports to keep fans engaged throughout the tournament. The auto brand’s premiere sponsorship presence on the Yahoo Fantasy App was new for 2018, signaling an effort by Lexus to target mobile consumers.
Ahead of March Madness 2017, Pizza Hut launched Pie Tops, the first shoe ever created that orders pizza at the push of a button. This year, Pizza Hut resurrected the saucy kicks.
Each shoe has a smart button tucked inside velcro-sealed pockets on each tongue. One has a Flic smart button which links to Pizza Hut’s Pie Tops app via Bluetooth to do one-press ordering for one specific Pizza Hut deal, two-topping, two medium pizzas for $5.99.
The other shoe has a TV-clicker IR blaster which pauses live TV so one can retrieve the pizza delivery at a leisurely pace. However, this only works with certain cable receivers, namely Spectrum, DirecTV, XFinity, Dish, and Fios.
Pizza Hut’s thinking was smart: college basketball fans like pizza, but don’t want to miss any of the action.
The basketball-style Pie Tops II are unfortunately a limited run of 50, created by the Shoe Surgeon, a custom sneaker designer in Los Angeles.
As the Official Sports Drink of the NCAA, Powerade decided to ignite its new brand platform during March Madness. The new campaign, “That’s Some Kind of Power,” debuted during the First Four March Madness games.
A 30-second ad, titled “Ankles,” ensured that Powerade’s new campaign began on a humorous hyperbolic note, using a fictional account of what could have happened if Powerade had been around “back in the day.”
Five other 15-second spots aired during the course of March Madness. Accompanying creative will roll out in a 360-campaign throughout 2018, using online, social, experiential and influencer-based executions to showcase the 30-year old brand’s new messaging.
In addition to March Madness, Powerade is also the Official Sports Drink of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. However, it made much more sense for the brand to activate a new campaign in association with March Madness, as the United States failed to earn a spot in this year’s World Cup (sorry for the reminder).
Powerade will have a series of soccer-themed spots airing in the months ahead.
For its March Madness sponsorship, Wendy’s launched an interactive bracket on social, encouraging fans to pick Wendy’s #TeamFresh and download the fast food chain’s app to receive exclusive offers throughout the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
The fast food chain announced the campaign with a Twitter video resembling a sports broadcast report and urging fans to tweet #TeamFresh or #TeamFrozen. Former NBA player and current CBS college basketball analyst Clark Kellogg starred in the launch video and additional ads.
Forget the shot clock, there’s always time for fresh beef. pic.twitter.com/TY4vfLMDJP
— Wendy’s (@Wendys) March 12, 2018
Wendy’s used its March Madness sponsorship to ramp up its mobile strategy through the campaign’s in-app offers and contests, in an effort to appeal to consumers’ growing preference for online ordering. Forty percent of consumers prefer to order food online, and they tend to spend 26% more than they would in-store, according to a Deloitte Digital study. Most people, 80%, also wanted to receive discounts and offers, and 34% wanted personalized messages from fast food apps.
Wendy’s also partnered with luxury sportswear designer, Don C, to launch its first-ever streetwear collaboration. Wendy’s fans were able to win items from this exclusive collection through giveaways on social media, local stops at regional tournaments and during Final Four weekend in San Antonio.
But that was not all. Wendy’s also dropped its brand-new mixtape, titled “We Beefin?”
The mixtape drops now. Not pulling punches. We Beefin’. pic.twitter.com/H1Rm1ODYC4
— Wendy’s (@Wendys) March 23, 2018
Between exclusive offers, clothing and music, the fast food chain’s multifaceted approach during March Madness created constant engagement with consumers.
March Madness has become more than a basketball extravaganza. It unites people across the United States and beyond in their love of players, teams, and underdog narratives. It generates an excitement unparalleled among collegiate sports, and leading brands have tapped into this excitement and anticipation.
A combination of bracket competitions, personalization and absurd humor has created a championship standard that many brands will find difficult to reach.
In advertising and in college hoops, to the victors go the spoils.
Ce site web utilise des cookies pour vous vous assurer une expérience de navigation optimale.OK En Savoir Plus
Diese Internetseite verwendet Cookies, damit Sie die Funktionen der Website optimal nutzen können.OK Weitere Informationen finden Sie hier
Este sitio web usa cookies para asegurarnos que usted reciba la mejor experiencia en nuestro sitio web.OK Aprenda más