March M(ad)ness is here
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, folks. The NCAA Tournament officially tips off today with Selection Sunday and I already have a dozen (believable) OOO messages drafted just in case my bracket needs me. As a die-hard Texas A&M fan, I’m ready to suffer, but it’s not easy when you work with a trash-talking Alabama devotee. (Okay, okay, it’s Laura. And I’ll shut my mouth about the recent upset). 😇
I’m not the only one counting down the hours till that first whistle blows. Nissan is revving up its strategy to appeal to fans at home and in the stands while spotlighting its new EV, the Ariya.
The carmaker’s six-commercial line-up features appearances from team mascots and former players, as well as a first-of-its-kind collab with TikTok Now (a BeReal copycat tool) to invite viewers to document and share their live viewing experiences.
Speaking of viewership, the NCAA Tournament is a tailor-made arena for advertisers to shine. Last year, 65% of American households tuned in to the action, logging on average an impressive 9.25 hours of viewing time. Here’s some more crazy stats:
🏠 March Madness ads reach 245% more households per commercial than ads that run in other programming.
📣 Campaigns including mentions of March Madness (only the official sponsors can use the name, to be fair) yield 87% greater audience reach compared to other campaigns within the same time period.
📺 Streaming viewership on March Madness-airing networks increases 86% during March Madness (compared to prior period).
Talk about a slam dunk.
As the tournament progresses I’ll be curious to see which brands seize this massive opportunity to appeal to casual viewers and not just die hard fans. Afterall, when all eyes are on you, you gotta make those easy layups. (Plus, I think we all could use a pick-me-up after a disappointing ad showing at the Super Bowl.)
There you have it. It’s go time, folks. Here’s to the next few weeks of thrilling upsets, gut-wrenching defeats, and, of course, extra large party trays.
Chris Rock slaps back
Oscar season is upon us, and you know what that means: comedy and drama under the same roof once again.
If you’re like me, you might not recall last year’s winners or nominees, but you definitely remember The Slap Heard ‘Round the World, starring comedian and emcee of the evening, Chris Rock, and decorated actor Will Smith.
Rock offered an extensive commentary on the events in Netflix’s first live global special, not wasting any time pulling punches, slaps, or scathing insults. The predictable targets of Rock’s wrath were Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith—the latter the butt of a joke by Rock and the former her outraged defender, who shocked the world by striking the stand-up performer on live TV.
But the Smiths weren’t the only ones on Rock’s hit list. By the end of the special, Megan Markle, the Royal Family, the culture of ‘selective outrage’ and even Lululemon yoga pants all got roasted, with varying levels of success.
Setting aside the spectacle of controversy, Netflix’s pivot to airing a live special marks a larger shift in strategy in the streaming wars. (Think Disney’s Elton John concert and Amazon’s Thursday Night Football). With so many platforms vying for viewers’ attention, the allure of an exclusive live event drums up excitement, creates intrigue, and reminds folks of the good old days of “appointment viewership”. Remember TGIF? (We recently introduced the kids to Family Matters, and now all they can talk about is meeting Steve’s alter ego, Stefan Urquelle).
While it isn’t clear if more slap-worthy live content will be enough to cure Netflix’s subscriber slump, I can vouch that it’s a way better strategy than policing password sharing. (Thanks again, Mom.)
YouTube adds AI tools for video creators
Google just announced new AI integrations are coming to YouTube, and they actually sound pretty cool.
Video creators can look forward to using the new tech to “virtually swap outfits” or design “fantastical film settings,” as the features begin to roll out in the coming months. Cautious as ever after the botched launch of its ChatGPT counterpart, Bard, Google is taking its time to make sure the features are up to snuff and that safety guardrails are in place to curb the chaos.
The Alphabet-owned company—who called an internal “code red” after the launch of ChatGPT— is scrambling to gain back ground lost to the remarkable (albeit unruly) rise of generative AI tools by its competitors.
But beyond the drama of the chatbot wars, Google is a company that heavily relies on search engine profits. It needs to get in the game soon, or risk some major losses in revenue. The warm up laps of this marathon might have favored Microsoft and Open AI, but you can bet your bot that Google won’t be far behind.
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