By Barry Janoff
March 17, 2014: Northwestern Mutual has punched its marketing ticket for both the NCAA Div. I Men's And Women's Basketball Tournaments, with multi-layered activation that is set to encompass TV, Internet, social media, on-site activation at both Final Four events and, in a look ahead, an opportunity to win tickets to the 2015 Final Four.
Northwestern Mutual, an official corporate partner of the NCAA, will focus a chunk of its efforts around original content, including Northwestern Mutual Presents Planning for Success, a 30-minute special that will look at the role that "preparation, style and execution play in the success of prominent NCAA coaches"; and Team Confidential, which features coaches discussing various issues relative to preparation and planning for the NCAA championship.
Two main spots, "Build" and "Earn," have previously aired. Both will run on-air and online.
The Milwaukee-based insurance firm will have significant presence at the bookend events of the tournament, Northwestern Mutual will be primary sponsor of the men's First Four games on truTV, to be played March 18-19 in the University of Dayton (Ohio) Arena.
Mutual will then sponsor local events in Dallas and North Texas, site of the men's Final Four, April 5-7 in AT&T Stadium; and Nashville, site of the women's Final Four in Bridgestone Arena, April 6-8.
The weeks in between will include TV on CBS, TNT, TBS, and truTV; and Web and mobile advertising on NCAA March Madness Live, which provides multi-screen digital access to all 67 games of the men's basketball tournament.
The Northwestern Mutual "NCAA Madness Bracket Challenge" is offering a trip to the Men's Div. I 2015 Final Four in Indianapolis. (Details here.)
In Dallas, the company will be presenting sponsor of the 2014 Coaches vs. Cancer Coaches Huddle, on April 4, Final Four Friday, a fundraising event in Dallas attended by former and current NCAA basketball coaches.
Also in Dallas, the Northwestern Mutual Road to the Final Four 5K is scheduled for April 5. Both events will benefit pediatric cancer research through the American Cancer Society.
In Nashville, Northwestern Mutual will be presenting sponsor for the 4Kay Run, held in honor of the late Kay Yow, North Carolina State head women's basketball coachwho passed away from cancer in 2009. Proceeds benefit cancer research through the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.
"As a corporate NCAA partner, we've found substantial opportunities around March Madness that are a great fit for our company and the communities we serve."
"Since we joined the NCAA as a corporate partner, we've found substantial opportunities around March Madness that are a great fit for our company and the communities we serve," Conrad York, vp-marketing for Northwestern Mutual, said in a statement. "Planning is an essential component to success, whether you are on or off the court. We help our clients plan for a secure financial future every day with our distinctive planning process."
Northwestern Mutual has had an corporate partnership with the NCAA since January 2012, including exclusivity in the life insurance, wealth management and retirement planning service categories.
Official NCAA corporate champions are AT&T, Capital One and Coca-Cola. In addition to Northwestern Mutual, official corporate partners are Allstate, Buffalo Wild Wings, Buick, Burger King, Enterprise, Infiniti, LG, Lowe’s, Nabisco, Northwestern Mutual, Reese’s (Hershey’s), Unilever and UPS.
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