Slicing the March Madness Pie

I recently read a blog by Mark Trova, in which he talked about some of the different reasons why March Madness is so successful. At one point, he talked about advertisements, and how, “Everyone realizes the cash cow that is the NCAA tournament, and everyone wants a piece of the pie.”

After I read that, I began to notice just how right he was. While watching a single March Madness game, I quickly picked up on the trend of advertisements being specifically aimed at basketball lovers. Dove, State Farm and Mountain Dew are all advertisers who, I think, are definitely getting their piece of the Madness Pie.


The above advertisement, obviously for Diet Mountain Dew, begs viewers to ask themselves how much the last Diet Mt. Dew on earth would be. The lucky guy that got his hands on it in the ad is pestered by popular sportscasters including Erin Andrews, Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg in addition to possibly the most iconic college basketball commentator, Dick Vitale.

The inclusion of those individuals in the advertisement obviously make the product more appealing to viewers of college basketball games, and Pepsi Co. probably didn’t need to do much market research to come to that conclusion.

This next advertisement is for Dove.

Once again, the commercial features somewhat related to sports. In this case, it’s Steve Nash, a very successful player in the NBA. Despite the fact that he is close to retirement age, the commercial takes a look back at Nash’s college career.

Selection Sunday, the day on which the bracket for the March Madness tournament is unveiled, is a stressful day for many teams. Nash was on one of those teams, and talks about his excitement when he heard that his team had made it to The Dance. It’s hard to make any stronger of a connection between March Madness and your product as this commercial does.

My personal favorite, though, is for State Farm.

Bob Knight is without a doubt one of the most famous college basketball coaches in history. More specifically, he’s very famous for throwing at least one or two chairs across courts due to his high temper.

This commercial from State Farm captures the attitude that we all know Bob Knight for, and does it in a pretty funny way. I absolutely love it when Knight is holding a chair, seemingly making a threat to the State Farm employee.

Of course, the employees breathe a collective sigh of relief when Knight leaves the office, but the important part is that Knight left the building happy with the savings he had earned through discounts on his insurance.

In my last post, I talked about how crucial it is for advertisers to know their target as well as possible. March Madness has shown how well some organizations do!

What is your favorite March Madness commercial so far?

One thought on “Slicing the March Madness Pie

  1. I love this post, and not only because it referenced (and supported) my earlier blog, but because you do a good job giving some specific example. Some of the ads make unfathomably ridiculous connections to “march madness,” which simply throw march madness into a catchy slogan that has a sale of some kind, but these ones do a good job of using the product effectively and playing on our knowledge of the tournament (ex: the chair throw threatened by Knight, or Dick Vitale who is unknown outside of the world of college basketball).

    It certainly is a huge pie, this tournament, and companies have begun cutting it up. The winner(s) will be the companies that come up with the best advertisement!

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