The time of office pools, decreased productivity and busted brackets has arrived. These days, you can’t sneeze (or look at your Facebook feed) without coming across a sponsored bracket contest.
For businesses, using social media is key to getting the word out about their promotions. Here are a few companies that are trying to stand tall in the #MarchMadness crowd:
Steiner Sports, a sports memorabilia company, is using the hashtag "#steinerbracket" to tout the grand prize of its bracket challenge: a meet and greet with legendary basketball coach Bob Knight. (Your odds of winning are pretty good with only two dozen having signed up as of Monday afternoon.)
Buffalo Wild Wings, the restaurant chain that calls itself "The Official Hangout for March Madness," is offering six ways to win a trip to the 2015 tournament and thousands of dollars in gift cards. Ways to accumulate points include weekly trivia, checking into a Buffalo Wild Wings and tweeting about the challenge.
Kwinn Media, which produces podcasts and reviews on sports and video games, is requiring all participants to retweet its bracket link in order to get the password for a chance to win a $200 prize pack.
Pet Plan Insurance is hosting the “Tournament of Tails: Sweet 16 Shelter Pet Challenge.” Sixteen cats and dogs from 16 shelters are competing for a $5,000 donation to their shelter. Voting will be done in Facebook comments. This one takes a page from pet-themed Super Bowl show knockoffs, such as the Puppy Bowl, which cater to non-sports fans.
Bonobos, the men's clothing retailer, is putting its yearly twist on the traditional bracket contest. It works like this: First, pick a sports legend to team up with. The legend will account for half your score. Then fill out your own bracket. The two brackets will be combined for your final score for a grand prize of two tickets to next year’s Final Four. The participating sports legends include Takeru Kobayashi, a competitive eater, and former soccer star Marcelo Balboa.
Despite the rush to use social media, some holdouts are sticking to the old-fashioned model of putting pen to paper. For example, the Shelbyville Times-Gazette in Tennessee, is offering its annual “Bracket Bucks” event, but participants must print out their brackets and drop them off at the Shelbyville Times-Gazette office or their sponsor’s showroom, Kincaid Service Co.