For years now, Buffalo Wild Wings has been running an ad campaign with a conceit that its staff members have a network of on-site assistants at sporting events, who make crazy things happen to prolong games and give customers an opportunity to stay at the restaurant and keep having fun.
As such, the brand has built a reputation as a “sponsor” of overtime, and in recent seasons the NCAA Tournament sponsor has purchased ad time during the commercial break immediately preceding every overtime period during March Madness.
Last year, the promotion went almost unnoticed, as just one game went to overtime the entire tournament. But this year, Buffalo Wild Wings has lucked into something of an extra-time jackpot. Five games have already gone into overtime, with four of the tight contests coming in rapid succession Thursday night.
The phenomenon led to a social media windfall for the sports bar and restaurant chain. According to the digital marketing firm Kontera, there were 6,000 tweets about Buffalo Wild Wings in a six-hour time span Thursday night, with 33% of them being positive, 62% neutral, and 5% negative.
Here’s a graph Kontera made of Buffalo Wild Wings mentions as the action started getting crazy Thursday night:
Buffalo Wild Wings is running other commercials throughout the tournament. Its deal with the networks carrying the tournament is structured such that if a game goes to overtime, the company is charged for the additional ad.
“It’s one of those things that if it doesn’t work and there aren’t any overtime games, nobody knows about it,” Buffalo Wild Wings VP of marketing Bob Ruhland said. “If there’s a lot of ot games like this year, everybody appears to be brilliant.”
Ruhland said the company also sees an uptick in posts on its Facebook page when games go to overtime, adding that this is the case even during games in other sports where Buffalo Wild Wings is not advertising.
“The fans have determined that’s our role,” Ruhland said. “We shape the outcomes of games because fans want to have more sports for a longer period of time.”
Buffalo Wild Wings worked on the campaign with the advertising agency 22Squared.
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