March Madness = Advertising Mayhem: The competition is heating up!

The brackets are in! For all you college basketball fans, March Madness has officially begun. According to USA Today, the NCAA basketball tournament brings in more TV advertising revenue than the NFL playoffs and even the Super Bowl, reaching a whopping 1 billion dollars in 2012. Columnist Bruce Horovitz says it will only get bigger. Despite your feelings about the teams and the games they are playing, this can only mean one thing for advertisers: the standards are skyrocketing. A 30-second spot during the college basketball championship game is running at about 1.4 million dollars. With a price like that, we can only expect some crazy, entertaining commercials.

Just as many big-name brands come up with new advertising campaigns for the Super Bowl, they will have to step it up even more this March. The credit card company, Capital One, has already begun to roll out their campaign partnering with Charles Barkley and Alec Baldwin as the faces of their commercials. While the ads are pretty funny, I think Capital One could step it up a notch in the creativity department for the big game. Here is a clip of one of their new spots you may have already seen on the air:

According to Forbes magazine, Capital One is also advancing their campaign by adding the hashtag #rallycry to the end frames of their advertisements to keep the conversation going, targeting those passionate bracket participants. I think this is a smart decision, from an advertising standpoint, as Capital One has really kept their target audience in mind.

As for other brands to look out for when you’re watching college basketball this month are Buick, Acura, Dove Men+Care and ING, all of which will be advertising heavily during the NCAA tournament. To quote Dale Buss, columnist for BrandChannel.com, “Let the madness begin.”

-Julia Tompkins