- Sports drink brand BodyArmor launched a new campaign featuring NBA stars James Harden and Donovan Mitchell to support its official NCAA partnership, according to a news release shared with Marketing Dive. In a TV spot, Harden and Mitchell poke fun at outdated ways to complete a March Madness tournament bracket, including using a typewriter and rotary telephone.
- The campaign, created by former NBA player and BodyArmor investor Kobe Bryant, includes the BodyArmor Bracket Challenge, where fans are asked to fill out a bracket and see how their version measures up to those completed by the brand's team of athletes, including Harden, Mitchell and MLB star Mike Trout.
- The TV commercial will debut during in the first round of the tournament on March 21 and run through the championship. BodyArmor will have a presence on the sidelines of games during the men's and women's tournaments. The campaign also includes digital, out-of-home, radio and social elements.
BodyArmor is centering the creative of what it says is its largest campaign to date on a favorite fan pastime during March Madness. Millions of fans fill out tournament brackets each year as part of office pools or watch parties, and giving fans the chance to see how their picks measure up to those from star athletes — including MVP candidate James Harden — could generate buzz for the campaign and help BodyArmor build brand awareness around the highly watched sports tournament.
Coca-Cola acquired a minority stake in BodyArmor in August in an effort to challenge PepsiCo's Gatorade beverage brand by positioning the product as a better-for-you sports drink. BodyArmor has a roster of well-known athletes that are also company shareholders, who star in the brand's marketing and draw significant attention from fans on social media and digital platforms. The new campaign is the second installment of its "Thanks" campaign from last year.
With the new campaign, BodyArmor appears to be targeting younger consumers. The company is looking beyond a traditional TV ad buy and incorporating interactive and digital elements, such as the bracket challenge, which could help the brand reach these consumers. Touting the drink's health properties could also resonate, as younger consumers are reportedly drinking less soda and sugary beverages.
Creating stronger fan experiences is a common theme in March Madness marketing this year. While BodyArmor is focusing on the tournament bracket angle, other brands have prioritized optimal game watching. McDonald's and La-Z-Boy teamed up on a sweepstakes giving away a McDelivery Couch to help consumers better enjoy their McDonald's delivered by Uber Eats while staying in to watch the basketball games. Buffalo Wild Wings focused its push on encouraging people to get out of the house and watch games at one of its restaurants. The restaurant chain also introduced the "jewel stool," a custom barstool with a cooling system in the seat, to support the reported rise in vasectomies during the NCAA tournament and drum up some brand excitement among men tuning in.