Capital One Financial Corp. is promoting its role as one of the top NCAA sponsors with an online viral campaign called "The Ivan Brothers -- Big Men on Campus."
The McLean, Va.-based company launched the six-minute video on its Web site featuring the Ivan brothers, two mammoth medieval European men who are recruited to play basketball at the fictitious West Eastern State. The spot feature CBS Sports NCAA basketball studio analyst Seth Davis and special cameo appearances from some of the game's most visible head coaches, including Jim Boeheim, Tom Izzo and Tubby Smith.
"People consume March Madness in different ways, and we want to meet consumers where they are in a unique way," Capital One Managing VP/Brand Marketing Marc Mentry tells Marketing Daily. "We'll be showing ads throughout the tournament for the TV viewing audience, while the Ivans offer branded entertainment that we believe will resonate with the hardcore sports enthusiast who tends to engage online."
Several 15-second teaser spots feature college basketball coaches playing along with the joke. Michigan State's Izzo says in one spot: "It's hard to find talent like the Ivan brothers. I guess I've been looking in the wrong century."
Capital One reached an agreement earlier this week with CBS Sports to become an NCAA Official Corporate Champion, the highest partnership marketing level offered by the NCAA. The multi-year agreement includes exclusive credit card and retail banking category marketing and promotional rights around the NCAA's 88 Divisions I, II and III men's and women's championship events throughout the year. Other corporate champions include AT&T and Coca-Cola.
The company also will present the Capital One NCAA Champions Zone as part of this year's NCAA Men's Final Four onsite fan experience at the Indianapolis Convention Center. This interactive area offers fans the chance to learn more about the various NCAA sports championships through hands-on drills and challenges. In addition, Capital One will sponsor the Capital One NCAA Hall of Champions exhibit, which will include unique visual displays that detail the history of NCAA championships, NCAA locker room replicas with uniforms, sports gear, equipment and memorabilia that define the sport. And Capital One will sponsor the Capital One 'What's in Your Wallet' Challenge on the full-court inside of Tourney Town at the Women's Final Four.
The Capital One NCAA Champions Zone will be promoted on NCAA.com. The sponsorship also includes spots in Men's NCAA Basketball for both regular season and tournament broadcasts (e.g., Selection Show, March Madness, Final Four, etc.) on CBS and March Madness On Demand (http://MMOD.NCAA.com).
The NCAA partnership, Capital One's largest sports venture to date, deepens its involvement in college sports. The company has been affiliated with college football since acquiring entitlement of the Capital One Bowl in 2001 and Capital One Bowl Week on ESPN. In addition, Capital One holds an annual Mascot Challenge, which crowns a Mascot of the Year as determined by fan voting.