SBD/March 14, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Northwestern Mutual Steps Up Activation Of NCAA Sponsorship During March Madness

Northwestern Mutual will be presenting sponsor of two tournament programs
Northwestern Mutual is “more heavily involved” in this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament, its second as an NCAA corporate partner, as the company will be “presenting sponsor of a number of major events around the 75th anniversary of the tournament,” according to Don Walker of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. The commitment includes “presenting sponsor of two of the 75th Celebration Show programs on CBS; a mobile advertising presence on March Madness Live through Turner Sports; presenting sponsor of the First Four games on truTV; and halftime sponsor for the entire women's tournament.” Northwestern Mutual Brand & Advertising Dir Chad Dern said, "It is a marquee sports property that does a great job of reaching our core audience. It's adults 35-54.” The company last week was the “sole advertiser for a special Sports Illustrated issue dedicated to the 75th celebration of the tourney.” Inside the magazine were advertorials with the theme, "Planning for Success." Dern said that the company was “pleased with the feedback it got last year.” Dern: “We learned a lot from what we did last year. We worked with CBS and Turner to create more custom content. Since the beginning of the college season, we had the theme of ‘Planning for Success.’” Walker noted the company on April 5 “will sponsor the Coaches' Huddle, a fundraising event featuring hundreds of the nation's coaches.” The following day in Atlanta, it will host the Northwestern Mutual Road to the Final Four 5K, and “a 4K run to benefit cancer research will be held at the Women's Final Four in New Orleans” (, 3/12).

MAKING THE CROSSOVER:'s Michael Wayland noted Buick during the tournament will tout its “new Encore crossover.” Buick and GMC VP/Marketing Tony DiSalle said that the brand will “have a large presence across all platforms and networks during the tournament, including during the games.” Buick has “already started with ads and promos for ESPN ‘30 For 30’ film series, but the NCAA launch officially starts" Sunday with the film "Survive and Advance." During the telecast, which is “presented by Buick, a new commercial featuring the Encore will make its television debut.” DiSalle said that commercials for “other Buick models, including the new ad featuring Shaquille O'Neal for the Buick LaCrosse, will continue during the NCAA tournament” (, 3/13).
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