While it was a good weekend for the top seeds at the Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament, it was also good weekend for the #2 provider of sports-drinks. Coca-Cola Co. (Coke), who owns 22% of the sports-drink market with Powerade, used the tip-off of “March Madness” to market a non sports-drink to sports-loving hoops fans.
Utilizing the 7th year of an 11 year corporate sponsorship agreement with the NCAA, Coke is leveraging the Men’s NCAA tournament to push VitaminWater to the masses. Coke had previously marketed its Dasani water as the official sideline drink of the NCAA championships, until it announced last October that VitaminWater would be the official sponsor of NCAA Championships moving forward. In turn, VitaminWater is everywhere at the tournament, and I mean everywhere.
Fanster reports that:
“While student-athletes and coaches are provided with VitaminWater cups at press conferences and during timeouts, even members of the media must drink all beverages — aside from coffee — out of a VitaminWater cup.”
However, the most interesting aspect of Coke’s VitaminWater campaign for the tournament is happening away from the action on the floor. The company is using TV spots which end with a call to action to their new Facebook page, skipping their Website all-together. The TV spots, which are available on their Facebook page and on YouTube with alternative endings (embedded above without the call to action), end with a simple call to their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/vitaminwater.
One particularly funny one (assuming you’re not a Kentucky fan) includes former Duke star Christian Laettner reliving “the shot” during daily activities – including a turnaround jumper with a VitaminWater bottle into a trash can, in front of fictional neighbor and former Kentucky coach Rick Patino.
The move by VitaminWater to use a Facebook page in the place of its Website isn’t that surprising when you consider Facebook’s recent redesign and the major force that its parent company has become in the social community with its Coca-Cola page. In addition, VitaminWater is likely reaping the benefits of Coke’s relationship with Facebook in getting the prime real estate (i.e. : the easy to find /vitaminwater).
Although there has been tons of grumbling from users about the new design Facebook is using, corporations are certainly opening up to it – with one caveat: there needs to be an easier way to find company pages. One way Facebook is making that easy for big partners, is by giving them their Facebook “home page” with a simple “slash.” Check out www.facebook.com/Microsoft or www.facebook.com/jeep. These easily identifiable and search-able pages will be in high demand as more marketers move to the “new” Facebook.
So how is the Facebook / TV spot call to action working for VitaminWater? They’ve garnered nearly 50,000 fans in the first week of the tournament and are trying to keep the dialogue going on the page by updating their stream with the aforementioned videos and celebrity photo endorsements / print campaigns (including Carrie Underwood and Alicia Keys).