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SBD/March 13, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship
Northwestern Mutual To Serve As Presenting Sponsor Of Tonight's "First Four" NCAA Games
Published March 13, 2012
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TAKING OVER FOR THE HARTFORD: Northwestern’s sponsorship covers categories -- including life insurance, wealth management, retirement and financial planning -- that formerly were held by The Hartford before it elected not to renew last year. With the recent additions of Northwestern and Allstate, the NCAA’s corporate partner program now numbers 11, in addition to the three corporate champions. Dern said Northwestern was pleased with its ad buys in the NCAA tournament last year and began discussions with Turner and CBS late last year on a corporate partnership. The deal was signed on Christmas Eve and announced in January. “We were really looking to build our brand awareness, especially with our financial services, and differentiate ourselves in what’s a very cluttered space,” Dern said. “The tournament is usually chock full of financial services advertising that looks for those college graduates and the affluent audience.” Life insurance has long been considered Northwestern’s primary product, but financial planning will be central to its messaging in the tournament. Northwestern is taking a wait-and-see approach to activating on the ground at the Final Four, where many NCAA partners sponsor space in the Bracket Town or the Tailgate Tipoff fan fests. “We’re going to go to New Orleans and try to learn more about what happens at the Final Four and what our opportunities might be,” Dern said. Northwestern has not hired a sports marketing agency, preferring to handle the sponsorship in-house for now, although the company has not ruled it out.