I usually fill out an NCAA basketball tournament bracket, even though I don’t watch the regular season very closely. I think there are others who can say the same. So what is it about March Madness that draws so much interest, even from those who don’t consider themselves basketball fanatics?
I believe that the allure lies in the idea of community.The tournament has a knack for bringing people together. We want to compare our bracket with others. We want to compete. We want to cheer for something. We want to brag when our bracket holds up better than the next guy. And we want to share our frustrations with someone else, whose bracket crumbled as quickly as ours. March Madness promotes a singular mindset and singular focus. And AT&T has tapped beautifully into this spirit of camaraderie with their “Brackets By Six Year Olds” campaign. I love this series of videos. In each episode a journalist interviews children to get their insight into each college team. See below:
There are some marketing lessons that can be gleaned from this campaign, and from March Madness in general:
Be Community-Oriented. As stated above, March Madness builds community. Your marketing efforts should do the same. Cultivate an environment that makes it easy for clients and customers to talk to each other and to you. People like to be around others with a similar interest. Everyone knows that March Madness will happen every single year. Perhaps you can create some kind of event, promotion, etc. that happens on a regular basis. Maybe it’s a training class or giveaway. You can also create an online community, in the form of a Google+ hangout, forum, group, or webinar. Whatever it is, create something with a singular focus that clients and customers can look forward to.
Be Timely. AT&T decided to “piggy-back” on an already popular event to create a great marketing campaign. Knowing that people are heavily interested in the NCAA tournament, AT&T capitalized and produced videos centered on that event. You might look at ways that you can take advantage of pre-existing events to boost the conversation around your brand.
Be Imaginative. Nothing will help your brand stand out like a unique perspective. And children have the greatest imaginations. Consider Sony’s recent ad, directed by Wes Anderson (but written by an 8 year old). AT&T tapped into the minds of children to create some wonderfully imaginative perspective on college athletics. And that kind of imagination draws people in, because who doesn’t find the mind of a child cute, funny, and remarkable? Now, this doesn’t mean that you need to utilize a bunch of children into your next marketing campaign, but it is important to communicate an interesting point-of-view to your audience.
Last year we worked with CommuteSmart to produce two TV commercials for their “I’m Ready” campaign. CommuteSmart is an initiative of the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham and seeks to alleviate traffic congestion and improve air quality by offering incentives to walk, bike, or take mass transit to work. Back in December, CommuteSmart hired us to produce three new public service announcements. This time, the client wanted to take a different approach. They wanted each commercial to consist solely of graphics and titles to go along with a new marketing campaign. We storyboarded and produced each commercial based on the scripts written by CommuteSmart. Here is the :30 spot for vanpooling.
It’s not even Super Bowl Sunday yet, and this commercial from Volkswagen has already earned over 5 million views on YouTube. It’s become an instant hit. As I’ve written before, no one can predict that something will go viral, but there are some guidelines to keep in mind when producing online video to help make your content more watchable and shareable. There are several things I like about this Darth Vader spot:
Iconic Imagery – Everyone, whether a Star Wars fan or not, will recognize Darth Vader
Cultural Significance – The Star Wars franchise is ingrained into our culture. When we hear that music or see that mask, we instantly pay attention
Hyper-Relevance – Even if you aren’t a parent, you understand that children love to dress up and pretend. It’s fun to watch, and to see this kid walk around the house, trying to invoke the Force is incredibly entertaining. Plus, you know you tried to do the same thing when you were little. Heck, I sometimes still pretend that I can use the Force when elevator doors or sliding doors at the grocery store open by themselves.
I would love to hear if you like this commercial. Leave your opinions in the comments section.
Back in November we were hired by Hall Marketing to produce promotional videos for one of their clients – Hoover City Schools. The school system offers two counseling programs for Middle School and High School students – Middle Ground and Bridges. The client was interested in producing two videos as a way to introduce teachers, students, parents, and other counselors to the programs. We worked with Hall Marketing on the concept for each video and we met with the client to go over our vision for the project. For the Middle Ground video, former University of Alabama running back Bobby Humphrey served as the spokesman. Footage was shot on location at Hoover High School on December 7. Post-production was completed on January 14. The client plans to use each video on the Hoover City Schools website and in live presentations. Below is the final video for the Middle Ground Program. You can watch the Bridges video here.
Back in November we were hired by Hall Marketing to produce a promotional video for one of their clients – Hoover City Schools. The school system offers two counseling programs for Middle School and High School students – Middle Ground and Bridges. The client was interested in producing two videos as a way to introduce teachers, students, parents, and other counselors to the programs. We worked with Hall Marketing on the concept for each video and we met with the client to go over our vision for each video. Footage was shot on location at Hoover High School on December 7. Post-production was completed on January 14. The client plans to use each video on the Hoover City Schools website and in live presentations. Below is the final video for the Bridges Program.