Smoked Meat Stick Brand's March Madness Bracket Offers Year's Beefiest Prize


Even people who typically don’t follow sports often join in on the March Madness of the NCAA tournament, with family or office pools awarding a prize to the bracket that most aligns with the tournament’s outcomes. Brands have long sought to find ways to get in on the excitement, but the proliferation in recent years of legal online sports gaming and betting platforms provides new opportunities.

Seizing a meaty moment for engagement, Sweetwood Smoke & Co -- the smoked meat snacks company founded by Under Armour co-founder Ryan Wood --  teamed up with sports gaming platform Splash Inc. for a “Sweetwood Smokehouse “#Go Big” Bracket Challenge,” with a particularly beefy prize for the winner. The brand is promising a year's worth of Fatty Smoked Meat Sticks, along with $5,000, as a grand prize for the player with the highest points total in their 2024 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. bracket.



Asked to clarify what a “year’s worth” means, a representative for the brand told Marketing Daily the winner will receive 20 Smoked Meat Sticks per month for 12 months. That’s a lot of meat sticks – potentially more than even fans of the brand might consume in a year (and possibly more than your doctor would recommend consuming over that time frame). The brand added that its second place and third place winners would also receive the “year’s supply” of the product – along with $2,500 and $1,000, respectively.

To promote the contest, which is free to enter on the Splash platform, the brand is relying on content driving audiences to the contest on its social media channels on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Splash Inc CMO and CRO Kyle Christensen told Marketing Daily the initiative also provided an opportunity for high engagement with less of a media investment. “March Madness is Splash’s highest traffic sprint in the sporting calendar and our core users, males 25-54, are highly engaged for the three weeks the tournament goes on,” Christensen explained. “These all map closely with Fatty’s core demographic and their desire to build a community of sports enthusiasts that will continue well beyond the moment.”

He added, "The game is not as intrusive [as more traditional advertising] and meets the consumer where they are. People tend to have a positive association with a brand that has a great prize while not taking away from the core experience.”

According to Smokehouse, the initiative reflects the Fatty brand’s broader focus on sports audiences in its marketing, and fits within a broader “Go Big” brand platform and identity. 

Fatty COO Tom Doherty quoted Sweetwood founder and CEO Ryan Wood as citing the importance of tapping into “sports-centric communities” to continue growing the brand.

 “Since our inception we’ve been on the lookout for innovative ways to connect with our audience,” Doherty told Marketing Daily. “Partnering with Splash Inc. offers an interactive experience for our customers to compete with one another for prizes during one of the biggest sporting events of the year.”

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