In 2014, Burger King embarked on their first major partnership in years with NCAA March Madness and the Final Four®. Their mission? To embed the Burger King brand in the national conversation around the tournament.
So we did just that.
Our inspiration came from one of Code and Theory's biggest college basketball fans – a super fan who always takes the first two days off for March Madness every year, and is known for sneaking peeks of the game under the table during meetings.
We knew he wasn’t the only one.
To reach these super fans everywhere, we devised a campaign that would give fans across the country a chance to watch the games like a king. Anytime, anywhere.
And we would make sure Burger King would be there to watch right along with them, experiencing each and every upset, buzzer beater and Cinderella story throughout one of the greatest events in sports.
"People are so fanatical about the tournament and sharing emotions that we wanted to engage them."
We created a 360 campaign to reward fans at home, at school, and at the games.
If fans wanted to enter for a chance to upgrade their NCAA viewing experience, all they needed to do was Tweet @BurgerKing why they deserve to Watch Like a King, or post a photo with the hashtag #WatchLikeAKing.
The end game? Hundreds of prizes. From a projector that allowed you to stream the game from your mobile phone, a big screen TV, or a pair of tickets to the NCAA Final Four game, we made sure no fan was left behind.
02 Celebrating the Every Fan
To kick off the campaign, we created a :30 spot to tell the story of one office drone’s March Madness plight.
From yelling at his monitor to hiding away in bathroom stalls, this guy needed a major upgrade. We then deconstructed his happy, sad, and mad moments into reaction gifs for game day Tweeting.
03 The 10 Day War Room
But that was just the beginning.
March Madness fans watch games non stop. On work days. On weekends. On weeknights. And so did we.
To pull it off, we created the ultimate war room.
Composed of strategists, writers, designers, media and PR all working side by side, we scoured data, promoted Tweets, and designed posts on the fly.
We were a devoted team working from early morning to late night. Here's a peek into our strategy:
From videos to photos, we played ball with everyone who Tweeted at us during the activation. Newspaper journalists. Celebrities. Vine influencers. Average Joes.
We made sure to make Burger King food front and center. We re-enacted key moments with fries, comforted losers with ice cream and reminded fans that the Burger King drive-thru is always there for them.
To herald the triumphs and pitfalls along the way, we also created content for winners and losers to share with their own feeds.
04 The Big Wins
The #WatchLikeaKing campaign was a hit.
Not only did we make Burger King an authentic part of the conversation, we surpassed brand benchmarks by more than 500 percent.
In its first year as the official burger of the NCAA and Final Four®, Burger King became the most mentioned corporate sponsor of March Madness and the second most mentioned NCAA brand, dominating a whopping 20 percent of the total conversation in social media during the entire tournament.
In fact, the campaign helped boost overall mentions of the Burger King brand in social media – mentions rose 86 percent, compared to average.
More importantly, the #WatchLikeaKing campaign gave Burger King to tap into the fanaticism surrounding NCAA basketball to become a part of culture again.