Category Archives: Blog
However, although it seems that everyone is buzzing about the NCAA basketball tournament this month, March Madness has transcended the sport for which it was named, and seems to be the topic of conversation everywhere you turn. I suggest that even for a basketball philistine such as myself, March Madness is part of my life. Why? It’s become an enormous marketing opportunity for every company looking to get a piece of the “big dance.”
I did a little digging and found that within the past decade alone, the tournament has drawn $5.2 billion in television advertising revenue from 275 different broadcast sponsors. Last year, revenue jumped 20%, to $738 million. There were only 78 advertisers in 2011, the fewest the NCAA has seen in a decade, and yet, they brought in more money than ever before.
So, like I said during the Superbowl, the commercials are the best part (I know, I know… and I don’t golf either!). Even so, I was curious about who the marketing giants are this month.
Buick is one of the major corporate sponsors for March Madness in an effort to attract a younger audience. In its second year as a March Madness sponsor, Buick claims they have dropped the average age of Buick buyers to 57 from around 61 years old just two years ago.
To give their March Madness commercial a boost, Capital One combined the familiar Alex Baldwin with retired professional basketball player Charles Barkley.
It is not surprising that Coke is spending huge dollars to be the “official sports drink of the NCAA games.” Coke Zero capitalized on the tournament by subtly targeting the male audience and spending a lot of money to include their brand in the excitement of the games.
Even companies within our industry are enjoying the Final Four games. If you haven’t seen the Fast Food Final Four, a quick Google search will prove how popular it is.
Even though March Madness is a trademarked term like the Superbowl, many companies are finding creative ways around that copyright infringement to capitalize on the marketing opportunity. For example, Spam created a YouTube video series inviting people to “Break the Monotony” of March by posting videos every day of its diminutive animated knight, Sir Can-A-Lot and offering tips and recipes to help those people suffering from routine meals (not that I’m in any way endorsing Spam, even though I am a huge Monty Python fan!).
So, now I welcome you to share your March Madness mania. Are you a huge fan glued to your brackets cheering and/or sobbing as the teams drop off one at a time? Or are you fascinated by the money and the marketing strategies that companies are using to leverage consumer engagement and brand loyalty? Weigh in with your thoughts.