Social Media Roundup: March Madness

March Madness is officially upon us – and with the first ever 16 seed/1 seed upset, it’s been crazy as ever. This is especially true for the world of social media, which blows up with every upset and great play. As people heads for their phones to discuss the latest shock, brands are capitalizing on fan attention with a variety of campaigns. Here’s a few of our favorites.

Having A Little Fun: Pizza Hut’s Fresh Kicks

Doubling down on last year’s “Pie Tops” campaign, Pizza Hut has shared a hype video documenting their latest innovation in the shoe industry. Not only do these shoes order you a pizza – they also can pause the game.

This off-the-wall but entertaining approach has been a hit with fans – capitalizing on the number one asked question last year (“Where can I get a pair?”) Pizza Hut is offering a limited number for sale this year, as well as giving away 50 via social influencers and activations.

Always On: Buffalo Wild Wings

Wondering how to engage as the games unfold? Look to BDubs for inspiration. Their running commentary on Twitter discussing the games with custom images and GIFs are a great way to keep the brand top of mind as people check their feeds for updates. Live content isn’t easy; but Buffalo Wild Wings definitely has the right idea.

Classic Approach: Reese’s Giveaway

As a sponsor of the NCAA, Reese’s is using social media to promote a March Madness-themed sweepstakes called #ReachForReeses. As the tournament progress, the prizes get better, starting with a $10 product prize pack and ending with tickets to the Final Four and Championship games.

Easy of entry is the key here. Participants need only reply or retweet specific tweets, and they get entered to win. With thousands of retweets piling up from entrants, Reese’s branding is all over Twitter during a key time that has people glued to their phones.

Calling Out Rivals: Wendy’s Fresh Tweets Face Off

Wendy’s is never one to shy from a little social media attention, and March Madness is no different. Taking their “beef” with McDonald’s a step farther, their messaging has been all about the fresh vs frozen meat debate, including a pinned conversational tweet allowing fans to vote for #TeamFresh or #TeamFrozen.

Celebrity Spokesperson: Buick’s Fandom U

Utilizing a partnership with star of New Girl Lamorne Morris, Buick has tapped into the social media audience with a relevant figure for younger car buyers. Naming Morris the “Dean of Fandom U”, Buick has been posting tweets with humorous “Fan Lessons,” tying Buick’s features into what it’s like to be a fan.

Multi-Channel Activation: Capital One

Starting with a whole bunch of TV spots, Capital One has developed a campaign including spokesperson Samuel L. Jackson partnering with the likes of Jim Nantz, Charles Barkley, and Spike Lee. Centered around Barkley, Lee and Jackson heading to San Antonio for the Final Four and championship, the video shorts they created from the TV ads are humorous and perfect for sharing on social media.

Social content using GIFs of the celebrities are also a great way to comment on the tournament in real time – their custom #FanAntonio hashtag even has a little cowboy hat to complete the look.

While Capital One’s social media approach looks more like a complement to the TV campaign here, the adaptations of the TV content they chose make a lot of sense for the channels.

BONUS: UMBC Athletics

The biggest hit on social media during March Madness this year has to be the official Twitter handle for the University of Maryland Baltimore County athletics department. As their men’s basketball team upset #1 Virginia, the Twitterverse began to explode. While keeping up with the influx of activity surrounding their handle during the game must have been nearly impossible, they did an awesome job of responding to the incoming mentions—with more than a touch of sass.

Their follower count is now up over 100,000 – and it started at 5,000. They’ve used their newfound fame to their advantage – sharing links to buy merchandise and info about the school while they have the nation’s attention.

That’s our roundup for the best of social media so far during March Madness! What brands have you seen nailing it? Comment with your favorites!


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