- Buffalo Wild Wings has debuted a new campaign around the NCAA's March Madness basketball tournament, according to details shared with Marketing Dive. The push is the brand's first with The Martin Agency since naming the shop its lead creative agency in November 2018.
- The campaign includes three TV commercials, including "That's March Madness," that urge fans to avoid watching basketball in subpar conditions — like at home — and instead visit a Buffalo Wild Wings. Fifteen-second spots, titled "Mr. Pickles" and "Birthday," will also air.
- Buffalo Wild Wings has also introduced the "Jewel Stool" as part of the effort, a custom barstool with a cooling system built into the seat. The stool recognizes a reported rise in vasectomies during the NCAA basketball tournament, when thousands of men schedule the procedures to coincide with March Madness so they can spend their doctor-ordered resting time watching games. The Jewel Stool features a chilled cup holder, timer and "beer me" light. It will be available at locations in Times Square and Los Angeles.
Buffalo Wild Wings is playing into raunchy humor and niche appeal to drive foot traffic to restaurants during March Madness. The idea behind the Jewel Stool is rooted in real research: Athena Health reported in 2017 that vasectomies increase as much as 30% during March Madness.
Fans use recovery from the procedure as an excuse to skip work and stay home to track their favorite teams. By introducing the novelty item at select locations, Buffalo Wild Wings could connect with a hyper-targeted market of sports fans — namely older men who are at the age where they're winding down plans for having kids.
Buffalo Wild Wings has continued to bill itself as the "Official Hangout for NCAA Sports," with creative centered on the idea that people have become too isolated in the tech age. The rise of on-demand video streaming services and the creation of "man caves" means more people are watching sporting events at home, and the brand is aiming to help fans have more memorable, occasion-based experiences together at its restaurants.
The push marks a bit of switch-up in creative strategy for the brand, possibly spurred by the change in agencies. Two years ago, Buffalo Wild Wings launched a multiplatform campaign for March Madness, "We Do It For You," that featured in-restaurant elements like a Snapchat filter and a "rally beard." The campaign put a heavy focus on social media, with videos and GIFs to distract the opposing team and an Instagram Story with a playbook tutorial for using menu items to affect games.
In the time since, Buffalo Wild Wings has experienced some major changes. Roark Capital Group, which also owns chains like Arby's and Cinnabon, purchased the wing joint for roughly $2.4 billion in late 2017. In February, the unit encompassing the Atlanta-based investment firm's restaurant business was rebranded as Inspire Brands. Inspire also acquired Sonic for around $2.3 billion late last year, according to CNN Business.