Yesterday, Quicken Loans and Warren Buffett announced that they would be giving a prize of $US1 billion to anyone who can fill out a perfect March Madness bracket this year.
The thing is just a marketing stunt, but it’s total genius. The odds of a perfect bracket being picked is 1 in 9.2 quintillion. A quintillion is a billion billion. So everyone on earth could fill out millions of brackets each, and there probably wouldn’t be anyone to hit the prize.
So given the odds, the prize is pretty small. But still, it’s like a lottery ticket you feel like if you’re smart you might have a chance of winning.
Technically, Quicken Loans is running the prize, and Buffett is offering Quicken Loans the insurance just in case someone wins the prize. This is a classic Buffett move. A key part of his business is using his gigantic cash pile to write insurance on events others can’t afford to. He’ll collect a nominal amount of money for this move, while also garnering some publicity for what he does (though he probably doesn’t need it).
Furthermore, an oversized Bracket challenge is a quintessentially Buffett thing to get behind. His whole style is plain-folks activities but on a whole different level.
For a marketing stunt, this is one of the best ones we’ve seen in a while.