A-10, 160over90 Got 'Next' With March Madness

For the second year in a row, the Atlantic 10 conference has teamed up with national branding agency 160over90 to raise the conference's awareness and hype fans during March Madness.

Last year, they asked Who Wants Next? This year the campaign asserts 'Next Is Now,’ and continues to tell the story of the uncompromising work ethic of the A-10’s men’s basketball program. The concept conveys that the A-10 is a conference built on hard work -- work that begins in driveways, playgrounds and gyms. It's this same hard work that keeps the A-10 pushing forward, with every pass, every steal, and every in-your-face slam-dunk.

The spot features music by rjd2 and the voice of slam poet Saul Williams, with lines like "next will create hysteria in the student section." and "next will shatter all expectations."

Executives wanted a noted performer voicing this spot and Williams — also used in the 2014 brand video — was selected for his ability to epitomize the grittiness of the league and capture the rhythm of the game. "Our creative team drew on past experiences at MTV and iconic indie labels in casting the videos, and landed on Saul Williams," says Brendan Quinn, creative director at 160over90. "He delivers lines like 'next will be waged by warrior poets' with complete authenticity and conviction."



The debut of this commercial was strategically timed to the lead-up to March Madness. While the conference run has concluded, the spot will continue to air nationally throughout the month on CBS Sports Network, NBCSN, and SNY as well as a number of regional sports networks. And, the spot also lives on WhoWantsNext.com, the A-10 microsite that first launched in early 2014.

Furthermore, the look and messaging of the ‘Next’ narrative was also adopted by each of the conference’s 14 teams in promoting A-10 match-ups. And, at the A-10 Championship at the Barclay’s Center, the campaign was heavily promoted, including on signage, on the big boards, and fan merchandise.

This spot is an evolution of the ‘Next’ brand campaign that first debuted in 2014 with the video dubbed ‘We. Make. Believe.’ "At the start of our partnership with the Atlantic 10 in late 2013, the league was perceived as a mid-major, despite a consistent record of beating teams from so-called power conferences," says Quinn. "After immersing ourselves in the brand, we realized that what binds A-10 teams together is the belief that wins on the court [and in the classroom] are a workright, not a birthright."

The previous two spots that 160over90 created for the Atlantic 10 have both seen a tremendous response. In 2014, the ‘We. Make. Believe.’ video generated nearly 50 million media impressions, more than two million Twitter impressions, including a retweet from the one and only Dr. J, and WhoWantsNext.com saw more than 22K unique visitors. Later, the 2015 all-sport video — ‘Any Arena. Any Field. ’— reached nearly 100k media impressions, received more than 15k views on Vimeo, YouTube, and Facebook, and was featured on each of the Atlantic 10’s 14 member institution athletics webpages.

This year’s video can be viewed here: http://whowantsnext.com/.

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