Marketing Bracketology: Northwestern Mutual and Transamerica Embrace March Madness

by on Apr 02, 2014

Warren Buffet might have made headlines for offering marchmadness2014 a billion dollars to anyone with a perfect bracket, but Quicken Loans is certainly not the only financial services firm to offer an innovative bracket challenge in honor of March Madness. One firm from our Annuity Monitor coverage group – Transamerica – and one from our Life Insurance Monitorcoverage group – Northwestern Mutual – debuted bracket challenges with accompanying microsites to engage users. Both sites allow users to register their picks for the winning teams for a chance to win prizes. Northwestern Mutual has been an official corporate sponsor of the NCAA since 2012, and its bracket challenge is part of the firm’s significant partnership efforts. Prior to March Madness, both firms heavily promoted the bracket challenges on their public site homepages.

Transamerica Bracket Challenge
The Transamerica Bracket Challenge microsite engages users by allowing them to make tournament picks and even start their own March Madness league with friends. Users can register on the microsite at any time during March Madness by filling out a registration form or by connecting to their Facebook accounts. Users accrue points by making correct tournament picks. According to its Prizes page, the firm is giving away a television and two tablet computers to the three top-scoring participants, as well as a tablet for one random participant. The microsite features a modern design that includes a live feed of users’ activity and current news articles about the tournament’s progress. The microsite also utilizes social media, including updates from Transamerica’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Transamerica Bracket Challenge Microsite
Once logged in, users see a Dashboard page with information on their overall ranks, points and win-loss records. The Dashboard page also features the options to make picks, join a league or challenge friends. Users on the Transamerica microsite are even able to start their own leagues.


Transamerica Bracket Challenge Private Dashboard Page
Northwestern Mutual NCAA March Madness Bracket Challenge
Northwestern Mutual’s NCAA March Madness Bracket Challenge microsite is an annually recurring campaign that is part of the firm’s commitment to its NCAA sponsorship. The microsite had a March 20 registration deadline for participants making tournament picks; those who were unable to register were not able to log into the private participants portion of the microsite. Unlike Transamerica, site registration was not fully open to the public – users had to obtain a participation code from their Northwestern Mutual financial representative or one in their area. The winner will be chosen randomly from the top four scoring participants and will receive tickets for two to the 2015 Men’s Final Four in Indianapolis, including airfare and hotel accommodations.
Northwestern Mutual NCAA March Madness Bracket Challenge

Northwestern_Mutual_Team_Confidential_Video_Content_2Team Confidential videos with exclusive behind-the-scenes content of teams preparing for the championship are available on the NCAA and Bleacher Report websites. The firm also added a series of Planning for Success videos with advice from top college basketball coaches to its public site. Additionally, Northwestern Mutual’s presence will be felt through television advertisements and sponsorship of local events during the Final Four weekend. The firm is also sponsoring three charity events that benefit cancer research during both the Men’s and Women’s Final Four championship weekend.





Northwestern Mutual Team Confidential Video Content
Closing Thoughts
While Northwestern Mutual is making the most of its corporate partnership with the NCAA by including a bracket microsite as part of its diverse campaign, Transamerica’s microsite places a greater emphasis on open user interaction by incorporating more social elements into their campaign. Both microsites represent a unique form of user engagement that help build brand awareness.