It’s about that time again. March Madness is back. Selection Sunday was last night and the field of 64 is set. Games begin Thursday, and it is time to start churning out brackets. You believe that this is the year that you will finally have a perfect bracket? Probably not but at least you can hope for the best! Trying to figure out which upsets will make or break your bracket. Your March Madness pools with your high school and college friends are starting to fill up, and your riding with your hometown team for the 5th year in a row (s/o Nova).
On a more serious note, March Madness has a dramatic impact across all social media platforms. The amount of interactions fans have using hashtags associated with the tournament is ridiculous. Millions of interactions are made within the weeks of the tournament, which provides a platform for companies to gain exposure and promote their brands. The big question for companies is how are they going to use this tournament to promote their business/brand.
Coca Cola is a perfect example of a company that utilizes the tournament to further promote its business: NCAA® March Madness® Bracket Refresh
For the past 15 years, Coca Cola has been a top sponsor of NCAA March Madness. They introduced two new advertising/promotion campaigns for the upcoming tournament.
- Share A Coke Campaign
An estimated 185 million people tune into March Madness, making it one of the largest home-viewing experiences in all of sports. Since it is one of the biggest home viewing experiences in all of sports, companies need to develop a plan or campaign associated with the tournament in order to attract customers.
Coca Cola has done just that with this campaign. If you have purchased a Coca Cola bottle within the past few years, you are familiar with this campaign. Coke put names on the labels of each bottle, allowing for customers to purchase the bottles with their names or the names of their friends on them. Now, Coca Cola has introduced the March Madness version, where fans can purchase personalized Coca Cola bottles with the logos/mascots of their favorite teams. They also have made generic labels for the tournament like: March Madness, The Big Dance®, Sweet Sixteen®, Elite Eight® and Final Four®
Todd Skidmore, senior manager, said college basketball is a natural fit for ShareaCoke.com, a site that allows people to personalize and order a Coca-Cola glass bottle with their name on it, “With these new limited-edition team bottles, fans can now show support for their teams and their love of Coca-Cola all tournament long.”
After this blog post I am going to buy about 3 million customized Villanova bottles to hand out around campus.
- NCAA® March Madness® Bracket Refresh
I think that this is a really cool idea that Coca Cola has implemented. Coca Cola teamed up with Powerade to launch this digital promotion. Basically, you have until a certain period of time (usually right before the day before the first and second round games) to purchase a participating Coca Cola product. On the product, there is a barcode that you scan using your smartphone. You create an account on their website, and everytime you scan a new code, you receive a region (East, West, Midwest, South) and a seed (1-16). You are then placed in a pool with everyone else in those respective seeds. You are entered for a chance to win prizes of up to $20,000, and if your seed advances, you are entered to win a chance to go to the Sweet 16 game featuring your seed. Here is a link to the prizes that you can win.
All you have to do is follow the three S’s: Sip, Scan, and Score!
I think that this is a very effective campaign that Coca Cola has implemented. Being a very popular brand, it already has such a large customer base. Allowing those customers to have a chance to win a trip to the Sweet Sixteen and potentially $20,000 all for the price of a single Coca Cola product is a very effective plan. People are going to buy Coca Cola products regardless because it is a very popular drink.
To make things even better for the fans, Coca Cola is giving its fans a free outdoor music festival outside the location of the Final Four. The music festival is three days long, with each day being sponsored by one of the three top-tier sponsors (Coca-Cola, AT&T, and Capital One). Last year, the Coca-Cola Music Festival was on Saturday from 2pm-10pm, with the headliner being Imagine Dragons. Other artists who played on Saturday were The Chainsmokers, Grouplove, Capital Cities, and Leon Bridges.
The way that Coca Cola has used the March Madness tournament to promote and advertise their product is incredible. With all these campaigns and promotions, they are really providing quality customer service.
I’m pretty excited for these next few weeks. Excited to see which team takes the role of the cinderella this year, and which powerhouse has that early exit (Duke).
As always, Riddle of the Week:
Which backup quarterback played his first game in Week 14 and led his injure-riddled team to a Super Bowl title against the supposed GOAT? (Hint: Number 9)
See you in a few!