SBD/March 29, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

AT&T Pursues Promoted Trend On Twitter For March Madness Sponsorship Deal

Many brands were readying for the start of the NCAA Tournament by buying "Promoted Tweets in real time around the ups and downs of numerous college basketball games,” but no company “got in the game like AT&T," according to Christopher Heine of ADWEEK. The company, as "part of a much larger sponsorship deal with the NCAA and Turner Broadcasting, continuously bought ads for tweets going out from @MarchMadness, NCAA's handle for the tourney.” AT&T ran a “rash of Promoted Tweets around Florida Gulf Coast's memorable and improbable two-game run to the Sweet 16 round.” Turner's social media team “tweeted about key moments from the games using the @MarchMadness handle, which AT&T then pushed out as a Promoted Tweet.” AT&T also is “sponsoring photography from the tournament at NCAA.com while pushing out selected ‘NCAA Courtside’ pics via Twitter.” AT&T Social, Digital & Emerging Communications Exec Dir Blair Klein said, "We want to provide behind-the-scenes content so people from their living rooms on their couches can be a part of the on-site game experience." Heine reported AT&T's Promoted Trend ads -- which “come with a hefty $120,000 daily price tag -- demonstrate how Twitter marketing has become closely linked to television viewing.” The company on March 22 “pushed ‘NickyFlash,’ a reference to one of its more popular ‘It's Not Complicated’ broadcast spots;” two days later, its Promoted Trend copy was "ItsNotComplicated." Klein said of the company’s ad buys during the opening weekend of the tourney, "There's the greatest number of games, exciting action and Twitter volume going on during that time. Certainly having a Promoted Trend rather than just Promoted Tweets helps us rise above the other noise." Klein's team for the Sweet 16 “will be sticking with their Promoted Tweet game plan” (ADWEEK.com, 3/28).
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