Sony Sponsors NCAA “Boss Button” For March Madness Viewers To Promote PlayStation Vue

What Happened
Sony took a fun and unorthodox way to promote PlayStation Vue by creating a branded “Boss Button” for basketball fans who are watching the NCAA March Madness games at work. Also known as a panic button, the Boss Button allows slackers watching the game on NCAA’s site to quickly switch to a normal-looking PowerPoint file titled “Progress Score” whenever someone important walks by (this doesn’t work in offices with an open floor plan, obviously). If they happen to take a second look at the presentation, they will find that it is actually an ad for PlayStation Vue, Sony’s OTT TV streaming service. NCAA has been putting Boss Button on their online media player for March Madness games since 2006, but this is the first time a brand has been integrated into this goofy feature.

What Brands Need To Do
This is a cool example of how brands can think outside the box to reach customers in unexpected places. At a time when ad blockers and ad-free streaming services are helping millions of viewers avoid ads, brands and media owners need to take proactive measure and experiment with new ways, such as sponsored content and native integrations a la this Boss Button, to win back the eyeballs.


Source: ReCode


Header image courtesy of Sony and NCAA

Now You Can Live Stream March Madness Matches In VR

What Happened
As we get deeper into the NCAA March Madness games, viewer enthusiasm is running high and the NCAA is set to capitalize on the fervor with VR live streams. Six games including the Final Four national semifinals and National Championship game — will be available for immersive viewing via the new NCAA March Madness Live VR App available on the Oculus Store.

Unlike previous sports VR streams that networks like NBC or Fox Sports have offered, which were accessible once viewers authenticate with their cable TV account to access a single-POV from a single courtside 360-degree camera, these six VR games will require viewers to pony up a few extra dollars on a tiered, pay-per-view basis. A higher-priced gold tier access will come with multiple camera angles, as well as dedicated in-game commentary and analysis from three analysts, providing viewers with a holistic VR viewing experience.

What Brands Need To Do
By combining the immersive power of VR and the immediacy of live streaming, sports events are a particularly good match for creating live VR content that more media owners should explore to fully engage their audience. This new NCAA VR initiative went one step further by creating a powerful viewing experience for the fans, representing a step in the right direction in terms of how media companies can work with content creators to fully unlock the potential of VR storytelling.

With the quickening pace of VR content development and the increasing number of platforms supporting VR content, virtual reality is fast becoming the next frontier for content creators and media owners to explore. As the audience size for VR content continues to grow, it is important for brands to follow the good examples set by early adopters like Marriott Hotels and JCPenney, and start developing branded VR content in order to capitalize on the growing consumer interest in immersive experiences.

How We Can Help
Our dedicated team of VR experts is here to guide marketers through the distribution landscape. We work closely with brands to develop sustainable VR content strategies to promote branded VR and 360 video content across various apps and platforms. With our proprietary technology stack powered by a combination of best-in-class VR partners and backed by the media fire-power of IPG Mediabrands, we offer customized solutions for distributing and measuring branded VR content that truly enhance brand messaging and contribute to the campaign objectives.

If you’d like to learn more about how the Lab can help you tap into the immersive power of VR content to engage with customers, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland ([email protected]) to schedule a visit to the Lab.


Source: TechCrunch


Coke Refreshes Digital Loyalty Program With March Madness-Themed Rewards

What Happened
Coca-Cola has launched a new digital promotion called NCAA March Madness Bracket Refresh in support of its long-standing sponsorship of the college basketball tournament. As part of the promotional campaign, the company is offering limited-edition bottles customized with team names exclusively on Fans enrolled in Coke’s loyalty program can unlock an NCAA team on Coke’s NCAA tournament brackets when they scan a Coca-Cola or Powerade product code by using their phone’s camera or by manually entering the code online. Fans with the winning teams on their brackets can unlock rewards such as digital content, movie gift cards, online retailer gift cards and an entry into a sweepstake for $25k cash.

What Brands Need To Do
In January, Coca-Cola announced it is phasing out its My Coke Rewards loyalty program and promised to replace it with a more “digitally focused” loyalty program, which is set to debut on this July. This March Madness-themed promotion, therefore, seems to be positioned as a transitioning program to tide over the fans till the new loyalty program arrives. Nevertheless, this promotional campaign puts a personalized spin on NCAA brackets challenges by allowing fans to purchase customized bottles to show support for their team and earn rewards. It demonstrates a clever way to devise a sports event tie-in promotions, an approach that many other brands can apply to make their loyalty programs more engaging.


Source: Business Wire