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Marco?s Pizza goes mobile for National Meatball Day

Burgeoning pizza chain Marco?s Pizza is responding to larger competitors? mobile innovations with an engagement of its own in the form of a promotion that encourages users to download a branded game from Facebook.

The first 1,000 consumers who download the Meatball Madness Game from Marco's Facebook page will receive a free Medium Zesty Meatball & Pepperoni Pizza through an email certificate. The promotion is just one of multiple Marco?s is holding on the occasion of National Meatball Day, while also encouraging brand attachment with the massively popular NCAA March Madness basketball tournament. 

?Pizza and the College Tournament go hand-in-hand, so we wanted to find a way to give fans a way win pizza parties and free pizzas by using their own basketball skills ? but in a virtual world.? said John McCauley, senior director of brand marketing at Marco?s. ?It also gives our social media fans another way to engage with our brand.?

National Meatball Day
Predictably, the Meatball Madness Game encourages users to shoot a meatball into a basketball hoop. Skilled players could also score a Meatball Madness Office Party for their co-workers, just in time for the first round of the tournament on March 16.

Players will receive a certificate for a $5 Medium Zesty Meatball & Pepperoni Pizza. The office parties and offers are valid at participating Marco's Pizza markets across the country.

Marco showing a bit of sportsmanship after balling on a promotional video

The promotion also provides an opportunity to join the conversation surrounding March Madness, an event that brands big and small are clamoring to attach themselves to. And seeing as social media has proven itself in recent years to be the most viable avenue for brand attachment, the Meatball Madness Game could prove to make a wave on social, as well.

?We use social media to engage with our current brand lovers, but also attract other consumers who appreciate pizza,? Mr. McCauley said. ?Our stores are locally owned and operated, so we developed a program entitled Slice of the Community. 

?It helps us reach out to schools, churches, non-profit organizations, and police and fire departments through fundraising and pizza parties. This is another big part of our social media efforts.?

March Madness
A number of brands have already driven stakes in the ground in pursuit of valuable March Madness marketing space. Earlier this week, Wendy?s debuted a unique tool to automatically generate brackets for NCAA basketball March Madness by way of answering a series of questions via direct message on Twitter.

The company is in familiar territory in involving itself with March Madness; the fast food chain has been presenting the annual Wooden Award, which honors the top player in men?s and women?s college basketball, since 2015 (see story). 

And last year, brands such as KFC and Lexus drove significant engagements on Instagram during March Madness despite not being official sponsors, according to Origami Logic (see story). 

The pizza in question

?People want to order pizza through multiple channels, and mobile is one of the fastest growing areas for any pizza brand,? Mr. McCauley said. ?While we are working on a new mobile application, our site is mobile enabled. 

?In addition, more than 60 percent of our eClub members respond to offers via mobile.?