It’s that time of year when Cinderellas dance, office pools make for make-shift stimulus packages and college athletes take center stage. Of course, I’m talking about March Madness. Situated perfectly between the end of the NFL season and before Major League Baseball gets underway, March Madness gives everyone a little hope that the winter blahs are behind us. But this year’s tournament has much greater significance to both sports fans and advertisers alike. Though spring is upon us, we’re still thick in the winter of one of the worst recessions in American history. And with all that this country is facing, businesses spending money on advertising during a national event of this magnitude is, believe it or not, beneficial.
With one or more members of the household out of work in so many families, cash becomes tight, making the forms of entertainment that once brought joy no longer prudent — or in many cases — possible. As a result, more families than ever find themselves turning to their television sets for the obvious reason that it does not cost them anything to do so. In fact, a Nielsen study found that Americans watched more than 151 hours of television a month — that’s up 3.6% from 2007.
Luckily, one of the best features of the tournament is that all of the games are covered by CBS, a station every household can receive. People everywhere regardless of their economic status can tune in and enjoy….which creates a perfect forum for companies trying to market their brands effectively.
So who’s top-seeded among the field of advertisers? Companies that sell essential products like food and water will benefit the most from advertising this tournament, because these are the products Americans still need and are most likely to buy.
Coca-Cola has made a wise decision by marketing their Coke Zero and Vitamin Water brands significantly throughout the course of the tournament. Vitamin Water is even the official drink of March Madness, making it the beverage of choice used during games. Items of their nature are less likely to be plagued by the struggling economy.
Contrary to what the bean counters might be saying, now’s the time to increase that marketing line item. And if you’re a company that is looking to ramp up your advertising when not many competitors are, marketing your brand during a significant sporting event like March Madness is the perfect opportunity. Not only will you increase your share of voice when many others have gone dark, you’ll also reap the benefits of connecting your company with one of the feel-goodest events of the year.