By Barry Janoff
November 19, 2015: Earlier this year, Charles Barkley, Spike Lee and Samuel L. Jackson went on a road trip for Capital One in a series of TV spots, directed by Lee, that culminated with a March Madness visit to the NCAA Men's Div. 1 basketball Final Four in Indianapolis.
The three travelers are back, and have brought some friends — Kermit and Miss Piggy of The Muppets fame for starters — on a journey that will culminate at the Capital One Orange Bowl, Dec. 31, where one of two semi-final College Football Playoff games will be played in Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida.
The first in a series of spots, also directed by Lee, to support the firm's backing of college football as well as its Quicksilver card broke this week to jump-start a multi-platform campaign that will lead to the Orange Bowl and beyond.
The commercial, "Bowl Mania: Kermit," finds Barkley, Lee and Jackson in a glamorous home seated before a lavish spread of food and ready to watch a college football game on TV. Kermit arrives at the front door, seemingly to spend time with the guys watching football. But he can't stay.
"What happened?" asks Jackson.
"She happened," sighs Kermit.
We then see Miss Piggy in a limousine, "Cut the chit-chat, Frog!!" she yells to Kermit. "We got a show to do," referencing The Muppets on ABC.
"Say it ain't so, my little green bro," says Lee. "It's so. I gotta go," says Kermit.
In addition to more TV spots in the series with Barkley, Lee and Jackson, Capital One will support with Internet, social media, outdoor around the South Florida region as well as in Sun Life Stadium and fan and customer activations. A Twitter-based sweepstakes (via #CallChuckB) is offering a trip and tickets to the Capital One Orange Bowl. (Details here.)
New spots in the campaign include "Ball Control," "Separated" and "Funny Guy" with Terry Bradshaw.
Lead agency is DDB Worldwide.
The presence of Kermit and Miss Piggy to tout the CFB playoff game is both organic and self-serving, as ESPN, which will air both semi-final CFB games and the National Championship, and The Muppets are sibling brands under the Disney Co. umbrella.
In 2010, Capital One signed a long-term deal to become a Corporate Champion partner of the NCAA, a top-tier status that also includes Coca-Cola and AT&T.
Since then, Capital One has been among the most aggressive marketers in the college sports scene.
In 2014, Capital One signed a multi-year deal with ESPN to become title sponsor for the Orange Bowl.
Between 2010-2014, Capital One spent $41.2 million on marketing for Div. I men's hoops March Madness, according to research and marketing firm Kantar Media, NY.
The financial services firm's overall ad spend in 2014 was $1.56 billion.
Capital One activations with the NCAA also include the Capital One Academic All-America Award, the Capital One Cup (presented annually to the college that accumulates the most points via final standings of teams in NCAA competition) and the Capital One Mascot Challenge.
The other semi-final playoff game will be held in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl, also on Dec. 31, in AT&T Stadium, home of the NFL's Dallas Cowboys, in Arlington, Texas.
The CFP National Championship is scheduled for Jan. 11, 2016, in the University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Az. It also airs on ESPN.
”As a major supporter of college sports for over a decade, Capital One is excited to be the title sponsor of the Orange Bowl, especially as this legendary bowl game takes on even greater significance with the College Football Playoff,” Marc Mentry, svp-band marketing for Capital One, said when the Orange Bowl naming rights deal was signed. “Like millions of other fans, we’re looking forward to seeing incredible competition and drama play out during this new chapter of college football.”
“Like millions of other fans, we’re looking forward to seeing incredible competition and drama play out during this new chapter of college football.”
In the initial spot, when a dejected Kermit heads back to Miss Piggy and her limo, Barkley interjects, "Sometimes you bring home the bacon. Sometimes the bacon brings you home."
"Watch it, Chuckie!" admonishes Miss Piggy as the others laugh.
They head back inside but not before Jackson observes, "I always heard she was a ham."
The spot ends with Capital One's tag, "What's In Your Wallet?" and the text, "Official Sponsor of the College Football Playoff." (See the full spot here.)
A CFB-theme commercial with Jackson, "Matching Band," now airing shows the actor talking about the Quicksliver card accompanied by the drumline from Morehouse College.
Capital One Road Trip Takes Charles, Spike, Samuel L. To Final Four
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