With the start of the NCAA basketball tournament this week, a host of major companies are running March Madness-themed promotions that include contests, giveaway items and increased social media engagement with fans. LG, AT&T, Capital One, Coca-Cola, Allstate, Buffalo Wild Wings, Hershey's and Buick are among the companies that'll be marketing prominently during the tournament.
"Joining forces with the NCAA is a natural fit for LG, combining fans' love of the game with their love of the ultimate game day experience," says James Fishler, LG's senior vice president of marketing. LG is planning several tie-in live events, like video chats, a Coaches Cook-Off competition for charity, and a Harlem Globetrotters experience at the Final Four in Atlanta. "LG is able to show how our innovative technologies and designs can help fans experience all the excitement and action of the NCAA tournament right in their own home," Fishler says.
In addition to its new expand-the-tournament TV ad campaign, Minnesota-based Buffalo Wild Wings is offering an online and mobile pop-a-shot game that uses augmented reality technology. A real-time leaderboard will reflect the top scores as fans compete to win $25 Buffalo Wild Wings gift cards and a trip to next year's Final Four in Arlington, TX. "There's just so much energy around the NCAA Tournament," says Kathy Benning, an executive vice president at Buffalo Wild Wings. "We're always looking for new ways to bring that sports experience to life in our restaurants."
For the third straight NCAA tournament, Buick has announced it will highlight a specific vehicle – this year it's the Enclave – in its March Madness promotions. The company hopes to capture the attention of young professionals through a TV spot, digital advertising and sponsored games at the Final Four. "This idea of maneuverability, the idea of having all the luxury amenities in a right-size package is really the theme," says Tony DiSalle, vice president of U.S. marketing. "March Madness is a fun time for us at Buick."