Acura Goes Real-Time For NCAA Basketball

Acura, which has been for a year changing up marketing forces to get a distinct personality — and whose parent, American Honda Motor, will install Mike Accavitti as the brand's first SVP, general manager of Acura — is launching a new campaign behind the NCAA hoops tourney. It touts the 2015 Acura TLX sports sedan, which goes on sale this summer versus cars like Lexus IS, Mercedes-Benz CLA, Audi A3, and Caddie ATS, and BMW's smaller sports cars, which is a tough spot to shoehorn into right now. 

Acura says the effort, "Official Vehicle of Everything Thrilling," by its somewhat new agency, Mullen, runs across ESPN digital and TV platforms, on the Bleacher Report, and during coverage of the college basketball championships. The effort uses the tagline, "It's that kind of thrill," and dangles the possibility for someone to be first owner. 

"The official vehicle of destroying your boss's bracket" is an example of text Acura will use in the ads. Digital immersive banners will have video comparing the thrill of driving the TLX to "staring into a wolf's eyes," per the automaker, which says there will also be real-time banners linked to live-action game coverage. Social media elements house the sweepstakes that dangles the 2015 TLX, which goes on sale this summer.

The ads "compare the thrill of driving the Acura TLX to the thrilling events that college basketball fans are watching unfold," the company says in a release, offering up this example of real-time content that comments on events that might be unfolding during the game:  "The official vehicle of sending the game into overtime by tipping-in your own miss." 

To do that, Acura says it will have an "Acura Newsroom" a digital media play involving writers, designers and producers. The content will be be uploaded in real time. 

Acura's presence during the college basketball championship season follows the brand's recent major commitment to NBC affiliates in key U.S. markets during coverage of the Sochi games in February.

The automaker used to have executives lead functional areas for both Acura and Honda. Under that system, Accavitti had run the marketing program for both brands. Now, he's handling marketing, sales, parts and service for the Acura brand, and Jeff Conrad takes over the overall sales and marketing leadership post at Honda division. Both report to John Mendel, who oversees the whole operation in the U.S. The official start of these changes is next Tuesday, but Accavitti is pretty much focused there now.

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