By Barry Janoff
March 7, 2013: Just in time for March Madness, NCAA corporate partner Capital One has signed a deal with Charles Barkley, who will be part of the broadcast team from Turner and CBS that will cover the Div. I men's tournament.
Throughout the Tournament, Barkley will appear alongside actor and Capital One spokesman Alec Baldwin in a multi-media marketing campaign, which comes with the tagline, "What's in your wallet?"
The creative supports Capital One's VentureOne Rewards card, which offers such perks as airline miles with each purchase and, as Baldwin has been touting since 2011, the option to "fly free on any airline, anytime, with no blackout dates."
The campaign is anchored by a series of TV spots, two of which are breaking this week. Support includes Internet and social media such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook; on-site activation during the Tournament and potentially in-studio activation when Barkley is on-air. Lead agency is DDB, Chicago.
Beginning on "Selection Sunday," March 17, Capital One will direct people to their Twitter site, where they can use #RallyCry "to tweet loud, tweet proud to tweet your team to the top." Visitors will also have the opportunity to win tickets to "this year's big dance and other sweet prizes." (Full details here.)
Capital One has been an NCAA corporate sponsor since 2010, along with AT&T and Coca-Cola. Official NCAA marketing partners also include Allstate, Buffalo Wild Wings, Buick, Enterprise, Infiniti, Lowe's, Northwest Mutual, Nabisco, Reese's, Unilever and UPS.
In "Telestrator," Greg Anthony, also a March Madness analyst for Turner and CBS, on the air. "So let's break down this play." Then, turning to where his partner would normally be, he says, "Charles . . . "
But Charles is not there, because, as Alec Baldwin explains via telestrator, "He couldn't make it. His single-miles card blacked him out [of seats]. He should have used the Capital One Venture card."
Barkley then appears, but from his Mom's home via satellite. "Hey, fellas," Barkley begins. However, his Mom, who is in the background doing the laundry, interrupts. "Hey, baby, you want momma to iron your undies?" she asks a not amused Barkley, holding them up for a national TV audience.
"Nice tighty whities," says a very amused Anthony. The undies are XXX-large, inspiring Baldwin to comment, "I didn't know Mrs. Barkley made quilts. It looks like a circus tent."
A shot of the over-sized underwear is then frozen on-screen, and Baldwin uses his screen-marking telestrator to turn them into a sailboat. "What's in your wallet," Baldwin smiles. (See the full spot here.)
In "Played A Little Ball," Barkley and Baldwin are in the stands watching a hoops game when Baldwin tells Barkley, "You know, I played a little ball in my day." When Barkley inquires what type of ball, Baldwin — who played high school football while growing up in Long Island, NY — continues, "Bocce ball. It's a very little ball, but it's just as competitive."
When an incredulous Barkley has no response, Baldwin states, "We were gladiators, Charles. Gladiators." (See the full spot here.)
Outtakes from the commercial shoot hint at other spots — possibly seven more — to come, including Barkley and Baldwin arguing over who gets the aisle seat, Barkley handing Baldwin and empty platter that had been filled with nachos for them to share and another in which Barkley avoids answering a cell phone call from his wife because he's not supposed to be at the basketball game. "Answer it," he says to Baldwin. "Tell her we're working late."
Capital One spent $28.4 million to advertise during March Madness last year, according to marketing and research fiirm Kantar Media, NY. That ranked fifth among all companies (behind General Motors, AT&T, Anheuser-Busch and Coca-Cola).
All told, companies spent more than $1 billion to advertise during the 2012 Div. I men's tournament, including more than $183 million during the Final Four, per Kantar.
Among other NCAA-related initiatives, the from is title sponsor for the Capital One Cup, which is awarded each year to the best men's and women's NCAA Division I athletics programs in the country
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