- Buffalo Wild Wings launched a multichannel campaign around the return of the NCAA March Madness tournament, per a press release. Members of its Blazin' Rewards loyalty program can receive free boneless wings when placing an order on days when a game goes into overtime.
- The effort also includes the brand's first TikTok challenge. The #BDubsDanceCam challenge features a filter effect that makes it "rain" chicken wings. Inspired by the dance cam at live sporting events, select videos will be featured on TV screens in restaurant locations.
- Buffalo Wild Wings' March Madness push seeks to tap into excitement around the tournament, which was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to its interactive elements, the campaign includes three 15-second spots and two 30-second spots that were developed by The Martin Agency.
With its multichannel campaign, Buffalo Wild Wings returns to marketing around March Madness after last year's tournament was an early casualty of the pandemic. In kind, the chain last March nixed plans for an Airbnb-style sleepover inside its restaurant in Chicago's Lincoln Park as the chain — like many others — moved to a takeout model in the early stages of the health crisis. This time around, Buffalo Wild Wings is using the tournament to engage with consumers in a variety of ways online and in restaurants.
With its first TikTok challenge, the chain gets in on a marketing tactic that has become commonplace over the past few years as the social video app surged in popularity, especially among younger consumers who are difficult to reach with traditional advertising. It's also incorporating TikTok into its strategy beyond the platform by featuring select clips on restaurant TV screens to drive on-premise excitement, demonstrating the heightened importance of the social platform to brand marketers. Chipotle Mexican Grill has repeatedly found success on the app, which as also been used by QSR chains including Arby's and Zaxby's.
In addition to its TikTok challenge, Buffalo Wild Wings can encourage sign-ups and downloads of its Blazin' Rewards loyalty program and app by offering free boneless wings to folks who check in to restaurants or place online orders on days when games go into overtime.
For diners in the Indianapolis area — where the tournament's finals will take place — Buffalo Wild Wings is also hosting a bracket-style eating competition. The fan who eats 10 Blazin' Carolina Reaper Wings the fastest will win a pair of tickets to the 2021 Final Four and Championship match, plus free wings for a year. As the NCAA will allow limited fan attendence at this year's tournament, the competition demonstrates how brands are getting back into in-person experiential activations as the pandemic begins to recede on the promise of vaccine rollouts.