March Madness Marketing: Case Study

It’s that time of year again.  March Madness has begun, and businesses across the U.S. are ramping up their marketing strategy to rake in their share of the sales and profits.  In fact, for the NCAA, March Madness earns them roughly $900 million in revenue each year.  Since the first NCAA Division One men’s basketball tournament began in 1939, the term March Madness has been synonymous with NCAA men’s basketball. The annual event is an exciting national craze that generates astounding amounts of money for advertisers and business owners alike.  The key to profiting from March Madness is dependent on a company’s advance planning and a creative marketing agency that can create a campaign that is competitive and a cut above the rest. Let’s take a look at a few corporations and see how they plan to reap some significant profits from this annual event.

Scoring Marketing Points: Getting the Fans Hyped  

To understand the scope of March Madness marketing strategies, these companies have come up with some pretty creative ways to profit from the mania.  Here’s what they are doing:


➔  Wendy’s

  • The fast-food giant has launched an interactive bracket on social media that encourages fans to download the chain’s app to receive exclusive offers during the NCAA tournament.  The campaign was announced on Twitter (#TeamFresh) with a video that resembles a sports broadcast. It urges fans to tweet #TeamFresh or #TeamFrozen.
  • Free burgers will be served from Wendy’s Food Truck as a way to entice fans into engaging in interactive basketball games.  The fans have an opportunity to win Don C sportswear items and other prizes through the company’s app. Some of the places the truck will stop include Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Final Four Fest at Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, and the March Madness Music Festival in San Antonio.
  • Wendy’s gives fans another chance to win designer, Don C items through social media giveaways.  They have also included local shops in the campaign during the Final Four weekend in Texas.


➔  Buick

  • This automotive behemoth has found a way to generate consumer engagement during March Madness.  First, they’ll target current Buick owners who have OnStar 4G LTE equipped vehicles. The owners will be given free unlimited WiFi for the entire month so they can stream 130 men’s and women’s basketball games.  This campaign was highly successful last year with live-streaming views increasing by 33 percent during March Madness.
  • For drivers who don’t have active data plans in their vehicles, they can still get in on the action.  Drivers can sign up for a 30-day free data plan, so they can receive live audio feeds of the game. They can select which game to stream if games are being played simultaneously.  But, the downside is that the app will remove itself automatically when March Madness ends.


➔  Lexus


  • The folks at Lexus noticed the increase in online streaming during March Madness and decided to get on board.  They partnered with Oath, a Verizon subsidiary, to continue their three-year sponsorship of Yahoo Sports Tourney Pick’em (Yahoo Fantasy app).  This ad promotes the 2018 Lexus RC F.  Registrations for the Lexus bracket game on Yahoo sports saw a 38 percent increase over the prior year.
  • Yahoo Sports also featured Lexus in a 15-second video ad during March Madness tournaments.  This year fans on the Yahoo Fantasy app can share their brackets with friends.

As we can see, March Madness is an excellent opportunity for businesses to promote their brand and reach potential buyers.  

If you would like more information about marketing strategy, please contact Web Content Development today.  Or, you can explore our website to learn more about us and how we can help you grow your brand.

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About the Author

Erica D’Arcangelo – De Silva

Erica D’Arcangelo – De Silva has worked in the Internet marketing industry for the last 20-years. Erica is the top-secret SEO weapon to marketing and advertising agencies in the world. She has generated over 300+ million in revenue for high-value brands such as Walmart, Pottery Barn, iRobot, Cutting Edge Firewood, Kelley Blue Book, and many more. Erica has custom-created more than 1,000 content, SEO, and marketing strategies which held the key to doubling and tripling online traffic, and marketing ROI. She has also authored a series of online publications including The Digital Branding Survival Guide, Million Dollar Marketing, 5 Steps to Increase Web Traffic by Blogging, and Repairing Your Online Reputation.