financial services

Northwestern Mutual Discovers Sports Marketing


For the first time in the financial services company's history, Northwestern Mutual has signed a sports marketing sponsorship.

The Milwaukee company is the newest corporate partner of the National Collegiate Athletic Association through a deal with CBS and Turner Sports. They join the other high-profile financial services sponsor CapitalOne.

Other NCAA sponsors include AT&T, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Nissan, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Hershey’s Reese’s, LG, Lowe’s and UPS. AT&T, Coca-Cola and CapitalOne are NCAA Corporate Champions, the highest level of sponsorship. Other sponsors are NCAA Corporate Partners.

Northwestern Mutual will gain NCAA marketing and promotional rights in the life insurance, wealth management and retirement planning services categories, as well as usage of the NCAA-approved trademarks and logos for 89 championships across 23 sports.



Through the partnership, Northwestern Mutual will reach consumers through a cross-platform of media channels, including television, digital, and social media. In addition, the company will team up with athletics departments on multiple college campuses and host career recruitment events and coaches' clinics.

The partnership kicks off with the 2012 NCAA March Madnesstelevised on TBS, CBS, truTV and TNT. This includes media rights to the presenting sponsorship of the telecast of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament First Four games, televised on truTV, in-game telecast graphic enhancements during the Tournament, and custom in-studio videos to air within Tournament game coverage.

The partnership is a good fit because the company already invests in education, says John E. Schlifske, chairman and CEO of Northwestern Mutual. In the last five years alone, Northwestern Mutual has donated more than $11.5 million to higher-education institutions through matching gifts.

The sponsorship will help Northwestern Mutual to reach NCAA supporters, who are often the same demographic as many Northwestern Mutual clients and prospects.

The media exposure will also help Northwestern Mutual achieve its goal of recruiting thousands of new financial representatives and financial representative interns in 2012.

The NCAA has built “a comprehensive customized activation plan across March Madness television, digital and mobile which will showcase and integrate Northwestern Mutual into the fabric of the Turner/CBS coverage,” Will Funk, senior vice president of NCAA Partnerships and Branded Programming within Turner Sports Ad Sales, in a release. “We've also created unique grassroots marketing opportunities for the Northwestern Mutual financial advisors to get involved at the local level,” he added.

There are 89 NCAA Championships, including the Division I Men's and Women's Basketball Championships, College World Series, Frozen Four, Lacrosse Championships, College Cups and many others taking place at over 800 sites across the country.

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