March Madness is right around the corner, and you know what that means, brackets, brackets and more brackets. Avid college basketball fans everywhere will be filling them out, and subsequently crumbling them up half way through the first round of games, but how will brands utilize the bracket mania on the social landscape?
One thing all brands need to keep in mind, and seem to break year after year, is the fact that the phrase “March Madness” is a trademarked term. Unless you are an NCAA tournament sponsor or partner, you can’t use the phrase. Because of this, most brands who aren’t official sponsors use various ways to market themselves during March Madness. So, let’s take a look how.
Create your Own
Some brands decide to create their own brackets just as we did here at Ignite Social Media a few years back, when we used social media to predict the Final Four.
Other brands used the bracket craze to create their own versions just as the MLS did when it partnered with AT&T in 2015. They decided to create their own personal bracket to help market the MLS season by allowing fans to vote for the Goal of the Year. Sixty-four of the top goals of the season were pitted against each other in a tournament style bracket featuring videos of each goal, allowing fans to pick an overall winner for the year.
The event lasted six weeks and produced some impressive interaction data. According to Adweek, participants spent an average of 13.5 minutes on the bracket page, watching more than three videos and voting more than three times per visit. In the end, the competition produced 720,000 total votes, which amounted to roughly 100,000 votes per week.
VI marketing and branding got in on the bracket creation by putting together the Healthy Foods Bracket which put healthy fruits and vegetables against each other in social media brand voting. The bracket brought in 20,093 organic impressions, as well as 751 interactions.
Some brands chose to use brackets in a more unique way, as KFC did with their post about using your losing bracket as a napkin. This post received more than 36,000 likes and shows how, when utilized correctly, a brand can use the smallest of ways to make a big splash during March Madness.
Brands spanning from Windex to Reese’s decided to get involved in the bracket trend. Windex decided to use this post about cleaning away your busted bracket.
Bracket busted? #PutSomeWindexOnIt. pic.twitter.com/7CJtHq6Mlz
— Windex (@Windex) March 20, 2016
Reese’s got in on the bracket obsession with this post.
If this wasn’t your #MarchMood yesterday, welcome to the club. #BracketBusted #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/2ekUktSUA7
— REESE’S (@ReesesPBCups) March 18, 2016
It took just a little digging to find these from years past, and there are thousands more like them. So, to answer the question, “Are brackets overdone on social media platforms?” Of course! But when it is done successfully and in a unique way, people take notice. So brands, post your brackets away, but be creative in order to stand out and separate yourselves from the branding pack.