- Buffalo Wild Wings, the sports bar chain with more than 1,200 locations worldwide, recruited several all-star players for an Instagram Stories push that aims to shame fans for not watching March Madness, according to a company statement shared with Mobile Marketer.
- Agency 22squared created the campaign to run during the NCAA men's college basketball tournament that tipped off on March 19 and ends on April 8. The campaign is targeted so that fans of specific schools get the message from an alumnus while games are on TV.
- Former college stars Charlie Bell, Dan Dickau, Tyler Hansbrough, Juwan Howard, Christian Laettner and Sean Singletary vent their frustrations in the chain's Stories posts, which Buffalo Wild Wings also compiled into a 45-second YouTube clip.
Buffalo Wild Wings' Instagram Stories push uses the format that's popular among mobile users to personalize its message for fans of specific schools while March Madness games are on TV, potentially increasing the brand's engagement with college basketball fans. March Madness is second only to the National Football League's post-season in terms of viewership and ad spending. Its "hijacking" campaign on Instagram Stories takes a snarky approach that's popular on social media, as best exemplified by the Twitter account of burger chain Wendy's that trades sarcastic remarks with rivals and their followers.
Buffalo Wild Wings is posting steadily to social media during the basketball tournament with video clips, re-tweets from customers and instant polls at its @BWWings account on Twitter that has 676,000 followers. The restaurant chain's campaigns this year include its "That's March Madness" activation that urges viewers to have fun watching games at its sports bars instead of isolating themselves to second-screening alone at home with their mobile devices and desktop computers.
The chain's marketing push around March Madness also includes the introduction of the "Jewel Stool," a custom barstool with a cooling system built into the seat. The stool recognizes a reported rise in vasectomies during the NCAA basketball tournament, when thousands of men schedule the procedures to coincide with March Madness so they can spend their doctor-ordered resting time watching games. The "Jewel Stool" seems to be built more with social media virality in mind than actual medical care or sales goals.
It's too early to tell whether the Buffalo Wild Wings multichannel efforts around March Madness will help to boost viewership, but CBS Sports and Turner Sports said TV ratings increased 8% during the first week of the tournament from a year earlier. P&G's Bounty, 7-Eleven, BodyArmor and more are also running basketball-themed campaigns around March Madness this year, as they look to ride the wave of the tournament engaged audience to boost sales and brand awareness.