For more than a decade, Buick has leveraged a strategic NCAA sponsorship to shift young basketball fans’ perceptions of the brand and bask in the media exposure surrounding March Madness. But for its 2022 program, Buick wanted to capitalize on its strong female buyer base (women are responsible for more than 55 percent of Buick sales) while staying true to its platform designed to foster “camaraderie and inclusion” among college sports fans. The result: “See Her Greatness,” a multichannel campaign celebrating female athletes inspired by the insight that more than 40 percent of athletes are women, but they get less than 10 percent of media coverage.
The campaign kicked off with a series of commercials surrounding International Women’s Day at the start of March Madness. Then it came to life at the NCAA Final Four tournament, April 2-4, with the Buick Huddle content series activated in partnership with TOGETHXR, a new media company founded by four professional female athletes—Alex Morgan (soccer), Chloe Kim (snowboarding), Sue Bird (basketball) and Simone Manuel (swimming). The ongoing series is designed to connect fans with legendary female athletes through live interviews and Q&A’s with athletes, coaches and teams across the NCAA.
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“Content is king, or queen in this regard, but you need the content to drive engagement. Our fundamental goal was to create a TED Talk-style content platform with these Huddles so that if you’re not on-site and you miss it, you can go back to our See Her Greatness channel and watch all of this amazing content, whether it be in bite-size chunks or the full 60-minute longform piece,” says Anthony Biondo, experiential marketing lead at Buick.
Providing a physical anchor and backdrop for the Buick Huddle program is the #SeeHerGreatness bus. Wrapped in inspiring imagery, the bus accommodates an outdoor stage structure and a/v for the interview series as well as engagements for young athletes like a Road to Greatness video game, a Portraits of Greatness photo wall, an activation to share customized videos and a giveaway backpack customization station.
For Biondo, the 2022 NCAA program, just as it has over the years, relies on collaboration across the marketing organization.
“Great campaigns start with three truths—consumer, brand and cultural—and from there you’re able to build omnichannel platforms that work across everything. And that’s a best practice for the Buick team in anything that we do, especially with the NCAA… Going back to Fandom U and all the social content that came out of that with the Spirit Squad, in addition to the massive Fandom U activation,” he says. “We had social, we had digital, we had the on-site all working together. And it’s the same with this campaign.”
The Buick Huddle program rolled through the 2022 NCAA Women’s Beach Volleyball Championship in early May; the Women’s Softball College World Series, June 2-10; and the Men’s/Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championship, June 8-11. It will activate at the Women’s Soccer College Cup later this year. Agencies: Leo Burnett (Campaign, Broadcast); Jack Morton Worldwide (Experiential, Partnerships).
Photo credit: Jack Morton Worldwide