March Madness - the Ads That Cut It
Tomorrow, March Madness continues into April. Ads already worked on men who got tournament-timed vasectomies, and they will be members of the captive audience. So ads for ice packs may be doing well. But what other ads will cut it?
Here’s a look at who will be staring at screens during the Final Four and what motivates them:
1. Brand Lovers. On Tuesday, Sterling, Va.-based Neustar said 28 percent of fans bought a pair of Nike shoes last year. (Below, you will see Amobee Brand Intelligence says Nike fared well in brand awareness last year, despite not sponsoring March Madness, because the brand “sponsor[s] many of the top programs on the team level, and [has] endorsement deals with top coaches, such as Mike Krzyzewski.”)
This year, ABI says the winning brand so far is Buffalo Wild Wings for two reasons: Wings and beer.
New York-based Dstillery “anonymously matched mobile devices from each Final Four [arena] to online behavioral data” and reports this to Target Marketing on Wednesday: Villanova students are more inclined to watch “Jane the Virgin” and read Main Line Today; Tarheels are going to see the movie “How To Be Single” and [top]-off their evening [with] Brixx Wood Fired Pizza or Hickory Tavern; [Sooners are] watching “Limitless” and dining at Mazzio’s Italian Eatery; and “Dirty Grandpa” and “Grey’s Anatomy” top the viewing list for Syracuse, as does a visit to the Adirondacks.
Overall, fans want to know about the athletes and will be consuming content about them. Last year, ABI says, McDonald’s got this right and ended up winning “through its organic branding domination of elite high school talent, McDonald’s All Americans (consumption is a measure of how often a term is ‘seen’ across 600,000 online content sites – includes mobile – and social media).” McDonald’s won, even though it wasn’t an official March Madness sponsor.
ABI continues: “Only half of the top 10 March Madness associated brands were sponsors, which goes to show that while you can pay your way into the event, half the time the most relevant and organic brand associations with the tourney will prove to be both more powerful and long-lasting.”
2. Multiple Device-Users. While Ran Ben-Yair, founder and CEO of mobile programmatic platform Ubimo, told Target Marketing on March 10 that most viewers will be on mobile devices, past research shows they’ll be watching multiple screens. He suggests reaching mobile viewers by:
- Consider moving away from desktop-era static user profiles and use real-world experiences and real-time data instead: Don’t limit your target audience to “sport fans” only, but target for example “young women at sports bars during game times.”
- Use location as a pivot point for local data, and take your brand messaging hyper-local: Target people at games with different messages than people watching at home. Create dynamic ads, triggered by real-life, real-time data.
- Launch local “congratulations” campaigns immediately following team victories
[Author’s note: One of my colleagues says he’ll be watching TV, scrolling through his fantasy picks on one device and watching other game coverage on his third device. He will not be using a desktop computer.]
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 28, 2016
3. The Wealthy, Older and Educated Consumer. Maybe it should be a given that audiences for college sports attended college, but on Tuesday, Sterling, Va.-based Neustar found that fans are “more likely” to be 55 and older, hold graduate degrees and earn more than $150,000 per household. These fans like to be comfortable: They spend $150 a week on groceries, tend to avoid fast food (hmm. Should McDonald’s be concerned?) and are “100 percent more Likely to have a car with upgraded features (GPS, climate control, keyless entry sunroof, satellite radio, etc.).”
What do marketers think?
Please respond in the comments section below.
Related story: March Madness Infographic: Who Are College Basketball Fans?