No matter what approach they took, there is no doubt that advertisers were just as eager as fans for the return of NCAA basketball, and our list of the Most Viewed Video Ads for March Madness 2022 reflects that.
The Kansas Jayhawks overcame a tremendous 15-point halftime deficit against the North Carolina Tar Heels to secure their fourth national championship victory this Monday, April 4th —but which advertisers were also able to claim March Madness victory in 2022? Brands like Pizza Hut and Buffalo Wild Wings zeroed in on their target audience by emulating on-the-couch conversations, while others like Buick and Aflac chose to champion important social issues.
A victory for ad sales too
CBS and Turner recently announced that the ad units for the 2022 March Madness tournament were sold at nearly a double-digit price increase compared to last year, beating previous sales records. They also sold “virtually” all the ad inventory for the event, indicating a growing interest in the tournament for advertisers in the wake of lifting restrictions.
“Everyone knew that the tournament would be back in 2022 with its original format for the first time since 2019, so advertisers were trying to buy in as early as possible,” explained an agency exec in a recent article as one possible reason for the success of ad sales. (Source: TVNewsCheck)
Return to normalcy or a new era for sports advertising?
The 2022 men’s tournament delivered the best coverage in five years (Source: Saturday Tradition), gaining 12% more viewers through round 2 than in 2021. That’s good news for advertisers, but does it signal a shift away from one-time sporting events like the Super Bowl in favour of reaching audiences consistently on a game-to-game basis? Or is this simply a return to form for NCAA basketball? Only time will tell.
What we can do in the meantime is look at which advertisers came out on top with our list of the Most Viewed Video Ads for March Madness in 2022.
Most Viewed Video Ads: March Madness
|Rank||Brand||Campaign||Release date||Total views|
|1||Invesco||Aisha: Optical Tracking Technology||Mar 11, 2022||10,553,969|
|2||Corona||Small Talk||Mar 10, 2022||3,210,069|
|3||Aflac||That’s Real Talk: CareGrants Contest||Mar 1, 2022||2,021,197|
|4||Buick||See Her Greatness||Mar 8, 2022||1,021,743|
|5||Pizza Hut||No One OutPizzas the Hut||Mar 14, 2022||686,658|
|6||Buffalo Wild Wings||Private School||Mar 12, 2022||268,312|
|7||AT&T||Lily + Coach K||Mar 18, 2022||208,066|
|8||Capital One||#RewardingMadness||Mar 13, 2022||195,111|
|9||Nissan||Fast and Steady||Mar 14, 2022||122,083|
|10||GEICO||Selection Sunday||Mar 14, 2022||70,243|
*Data collected by AcuityAds’ True Reach™ insights platform from March 13th – April 4th, 2022
Off the cuff, informal dialogue
Many of the ads in our list featured conversational dialogue designed to emulate the conversations happening on couches and barstools across America as March Madness games were being played. The sixth-place ad by Buffalo Wild Wings is a prime example of this, though Corona’s Small Talk also deserves mention for humorously side-stepping the issue of its name.
Cause-marketing for social issues
Other brands like Aflac and Buick chose to use their advertising platforms to highlight important issues in society. Buick’s timely ad about equality in sports must have resonated with audiences during Women’s History Month, as it was one of the few ads on our list to exceed a million views.
Often called the “evergreen approach to advertising,” several brands in our list used celebrity cameos to capture audience attention. Although there were many interesting sport-celebrities featured in our list, one stand-out was the legendary Coach K of Duke University, widely regarded as one of the best college basketball coaches of all time.
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Increase total views and time spent on your video campaigns without increasing advertising spend. Our proprietary True Reach™ technology harnesses all publicly available view data on social platforms to track real-time performance and enable decision-making that optimizes your Share of Attention™.
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