With weeks of drama and hours of non-stop basketball, many have called March Madness the greatest sporting event on earth. Every year the event continues to grow and become more crucial to advertisers.

Helping to fuel this growth is technology. It enables people to engage with the games wherever their location or obligations. But technology also provides advertisers with numerous ways to interact with consumers, making us wonder which brand had the best March Madness sponsorship across all media.

To find out, we leveraged our own technology to score brands in real-time. Given the nature of the event, it seemed best to let the brands compete head-to-head, tournament-style, to see which would emerge on top as the Brand Madness champion.

Groundwork

The more than 60 major brands advertising around March Madness were put into 11 conferences based on their industry affiliations. The brand with the best score from each conference, along with the next five brands with the highest scores overall, were selected advance to the Brand Madness Sweet Sixteen bracket and seeded based on their scores.

Scoring is determined through a combination of engagement, affinity, affinity lift, and sentiment from Facebook and Twitter data during the corresponding time period. More highly weighted and greater contributors to the final score are engagement and affinity.

Brand Madness Sweet Sixteen

Drama did not escape the first round of the tournament. For the first time in more than a decade, two No. 14 seeds eliminated their No. 3 seed competitors.

 

 

In the first round, three brands advanced from the Restaurant Conference, crowning it the top power conference. Particularly strong were the Restaurant Conference’s total engagement and affinity lift scores, averaging 45,365 and 2.8 respectively. The Telco, Consumer Electronics, and Beverages conferences were also standouts, each qualifying two brands.

 

 

Earning top seeding in the Brand Madness Bracket is Degree. Their #GameChanger moments and decision to return Stephen Curry to the collegiate scene as their spokesman resonated with fans and landed huge increases in affinity and engagement. Next they’ll face Capital One, who trails the nearest competitor by 8 points and squeaked by in the weak Financial Services Conference. Despite a strong showing in affinity, Capital One needs Samuel L Jackson, Barles Charkley, and Mars Blackmon to improve the brand’s engagement and affinity lift to have a shot at moving forward.

 

 

Other leading brands are No. 2 seed TGI Friday’s with strong engagement and affinity lift, No. 3 seed Powerade who recorded the second highest affinity lift overall, and No. 4 seed Nationwide who just missed the third seed with a good, but not good enough, affinity score. Trailing the top four, ten nearly equal brands will vie to move forward in 4C’s Brand Madness.