Honda car brand Acura is urging Instagram users to share videos of their "super handling" basketball skills on the court or in everyday situations during the NCAA March Madness tournament, according to a press announcement. The brand will repost the best #SuperHandling Challenge videos to Instagram Stories, where ESPN analyst and host Jay Williams will provide commentary on fans' top moves.
Acura also teamed up with sports commentator Filayyyy, who has 1.3 million followers on Instagram, and other social media influencers in the basketball and sports communities to promote the challenge. The campaign will be featured on ESPN and CBS Sports' digital platforms, along with ads and homepage takeovers from March 15 to April 8.
Acura plans to run additional creative with the tagline "Prove your #SuperHandling" that features the Acura RDX midsize SUV. Acura's basketball campaign will run across additional media outlets, including the Bleacher Report, NCAA homepage and the NCAA's FireTV sponsorship.
Acura's #SuperHandling Challenge urges people to participate in a campaign that includes a popular social media app like Instagram and the digital platforms of more established media channels, like ESPN and CBS Sports. The campaign, which is a play on Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive technology that is in five of six the carmaker's models, lets people create humorous versions of sports highlights reels that are popular fodder for sharing online.
Acura's campaign comes as the brand reported strong sales growth of 11% from a year earlier to 12,213 vehicles in February. RDX sales surged 32% to 4,965 units, a February record and the ninth straight month of record sales. The RDX's strength more than made up for a slump in car sales as U.S. consumers showed a greater preference for SUVs. U.S. light-vehicle sales slid 2.9% in February as cold weather, the after-effects of the 35-day U.S. government shutdown and worries about federal tax refunds slowed dealer visits, Automotive News reported.
Viral sharing could give Acura a chance to extend its reach while engaging Instagram users with its brand, all around the closely-watched March Madness basketball tournament. Last year, March Madness TV advertising rose 5.4% to an estimated $1 billion despite culminating in a championship game whose audience slumped 28% to 16.5 million viewers, per iSpot.tv data cited by MediaPost.
Acura has been active on social media in the past year to reach younger adults, who are more likely than older generations to consume content on smartphones. In January, the brand debuted an interactive experience on Facebook Instant Games that let tire-kickers virtually test-drive a new 2019 sedan. A month prior, the luxury carmaker launched a vehicle customizer on Instagram Stories that allowed users to virtually build their dream car with a digital sticker pack and animated Giphy stickers.