With March Madness 2017 right around the corner brands are using their time now to create topical marketing campaigns that will not only speak to fans of the tournament but other demographics as well. Building a bracket marketing campaign accomplishes this task while also engaging with both an existing and a new customer base.

Here are 4 of our favorite successful bracket marketing campaigns that stretched the definition and connotations associated with a bracket challenge:


eValue Media Madness:

Engagement Labs pitted top 16 NCAA brand sponsors against each other for the title of social media champions based on their eValue performance. The 2016 winner of this bracket challenge was Northwestern Mutual, making it the king of social media marketing. This bracket challenge took the eyes off the athletic teams for a moment and put the spotlight on the brands that make March Madness a creative content marketing showcase. It even got some engagement with the featured brands that took their matchups seriously with fun tweets and other social media messages. While this bracket doesn’t directly engage with fans of the basketball tournament, it does focus on an alternate side of the March Madness college basketball season that most fans overlook.

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Bernstein-Rein’s “Year of Madness”:

This holiday card from Bernstein-Rein was a true gift during the busiest time of year for marketers. The bracket challenge was made up of MatchUps between some of the most absurd, jaw-dropping, crazy moments of 2016. It was even named one of the top agency holiday cards seen in 2016! Although the bracket challenge has been over for a bit now, the cute animated gif representations of each moment will remain in our hearts forever. Easily one of the most creative and well design bracket marketing campaigns of the year!

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Reese’s Official NCAA March Madness Bracket:

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups was the sponsor for the 2016 official NCAA March Madness Bracket Challenge. This was a massive content marketing opportunity for Hershey, with it’s logo all over the NCAA’s website and all over your brackets. It also allows the brand to continually publish content that relates to the bracket challenge they sponsor. This Reese’s content included commercials, featured articles, social media blasts, hashtags and on and on it goes. It looks like their reign over March Madness is over thoough with Capital One sponsoring the 2017 official NCAA March Madness Bracket Challenge.

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The Bachelor Bracket:

If you are a fan of the current season of “The Bachelor” featuring Nick Viall and a swarm of lovely ladies that range from crazy to clingy, then this is the bracket for you. You can choose between different styles of digital bracket challenges. Three of them are “promoted leagues” where you can compete against other fans. Two are more personally crafted, allowing you to create your own bracket and compete in your own league with your friends. You can fill in these brackets with predictions from the beginning of the season or go by week to week. This idea is simply genius. It drives up engagement with the show and it’s fans, provides ABC with feedback as to what fans want to see and increases interest in bracketology with an unexpected demographic: lonely, upper-class, hopelessly romantic females.

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Want more ideas of how your brand can better prepare for the upcoming March Madness season? Check out some of our ideas in our blog here!

Inspired to create your own bracket challenge? Great! We’re here to help! Click below!