Enter its seventh year as an NCAA sponsor, Buffalo Wild Wings has multiple activations for March Madness, including new ad spots, its own version of a bracket challenge and a unique in-restaurant accommodation for a very specific group of fans.
By far the most creative part of its activation is the “Jewel Stool.” Upon learning that vasectomies increase 30% during the first round of the tournament, presumably so men can coordinate their mandated rest and relaxation to coincide with the games, Buffalo Wild wings developed a special stool to help aid in that recovery and get men off the couch and into the restaurant.
The “Jewel Stool” is a custom-built barstool with a built-in cooling apparatus that provides numbing relief. There’s also a chilled cup holder and a “beer me” light. These stools will be available on a first-come, first-served basis in the Times Square (New York, NY) and Koreatown (Los Angeles, CA) restaurants.
On TV and online, Buffalo Wild Wings will be rolling out new ad creative, including “That’s March Madness,” which discourages watching the game under sub-par conditions such as on a tablet or while hiding in their basement.
Seth Freeman, Buffalo Wild Wing’s chief marketing officer, says the brand’s partnership with the NCAA is one of its most important platforms, thanks in no small part to the growing interest in the tournament every year.
“You really see that coming through in our ‘That’s March Madness’ platform this year. The campaign highlights the simple truth that consumers have been taught that you can watch the games anywhere—be it your phone, your office cubicle, the basement of your house—but as true sports fans, we know the unrivaled experience of watching the NCAA tournament is surrounded by TVs, great food and drinks and your best friends.
“And that is what we offer at Buffalo Wild Wings every single day of March Madness.”
Other spots include “Buffer,” which will only be shown digitally, and “Overtime.” In “Overtime,” fans are reminded how much more fun they could be having in-restaurant eating wings, drinking beer and heckling other fans versus staying at home and changing a diaper or taking out the trash while waiting for the action to commence.
Freeman says being an NCAA sponsor is a perfect fit for the brand. With 67 games over three weeks, which draws an audience of millions, he says March Madness is the biggest sporting event of the year and that the brand’s partnership with the NCAA allows it to tap into the excitement in-restaurant and through TV and social media.
“Being the ‘Official Hangout for NCAA March Madness’ is not something that we take lightly,” said Freeman. “When fans walk through our doors, it’s up to us to provide the unrivaled experience of watching the NCAA tournament across dozens of TVs with wings, beer and your best friends by your side.
“And as those buzzer beaters and upsets happen we are excited to be a part of legendary experiences that are created as part of those moments.”
Buffalo Wild Wings is also launching an “unbustable” Bracket Pick ‘Em, which seeks to solve the problem of busted brackets. With each round, there are new game picks and props, allowing fans to win without fear of their bracket busting. Although there will be tournament-long winners, prizes will also be awarded for single days, rounds and even making correct picks. Prizes include game tickets, free wings for a year, Blazin’ Rewards points or even being immortalized with a plaque in your local restaurant.
If a player does beat the odds and pick every game correctly, they will win their own fully-operational Buffalo Wild Wings sports bar. The location, design, decoration and menu will all be customized by the winner.
This piece originally appeared on Forbes.com on March 21, 2019
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