March Madness Slam dunks

March Madness is in full swing, college basketball fans across TikTok are fired up over every aspect of the tournament. From fair pay for student-athletes, to how quickly all advertising inventory sold out for the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, and then there’s Caitlin Clark taking women's basketball by storm - all racking up over 20M views on videos. With 20% of Gen Z agreeing that creating lifelong fandoms for their school is one of the biggest benefits provided to students when attending a college, fans refuse to take a time out in the lead-up to the final four matches. And after a weekend of unprecedented broken brackets, it’s called madness for a reason. Ahead, we’re giving readers a pulse on brand activities related to March Madness on and off the court.

Image of the Aflac logo and March Madness logo with the text underneath "Official Partner of March Madness"


Brands with media investments in the NCAA were given a wake-up call in 2022 when in November Auburn freshman Kharyssa Richardson suffered a head injury at the Las Vegas Invitational and waited for 45 minutes for paramedics to arrive. Highlighting the inequities in women’s sports Aflac CMO Garth Knutson saw the prejudice taking place in Vegas, and knew the brand had to act. As a result, the brand now has three times as many spots in the women’s tournament as it does in the men’s, and as part of the overall campaign, Aflac and coach Dawn Staley teamed up for Dawn’s List, an outline of inequities in women’s college sports, in collaboration with the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.

Text quote, "We love college sports, especially college basketball."

— Derry, 20, MI (Cassandra Collective)

    Image of a 3D printed airless basketball on a black background with the outlined text "AIRLESS" across


    Wilson, the company that produces the official NBA game basketball, introduced what could be the future of sports gear—a 3D-printed airless basketball prototype. The “airless” part refers to how this ball doesn't need to be inflated and keeps its spherical shape without having to continually be blown up. And best of all, its unique structure and research-grade materials replicate the bouncing capabilities of a regular basketball. “There’s still work to do before it’s ready for courts around the world, but we’re thrilled by the possibilities this ball represents,” the company states.

    Text quote, "I’m planning on playing basketball in college and I started by playing in high school."

    — Julian, 18, FL (Cassandra Collective)

    Image or a Nissan truck and SUV on the right with various animal mascots over a beige background. The text on the left says, "Nissan Road 2 The Final Four Thrills at every turn." Below it is the Nissan logo and March Madness logo with the text, "Official partner of March Madness."


    As an official sponsor of March Madness with a refresh of its “Road 2” campaign, Nissan is adding a few new features including a first-of-its-kind tie-up with TikTok Now, the app’s BeReal-esque tool. With plans to reach fans encouraging them to post a video of their live viewing experience, those who also share the post on Instagram will be entered to win four tickets to the 2024 Men’s Final Four game. Additionally, Nissan also created Giphy stickers for use on social media and partnered with Bleacher Report to create a video series challenging fans to basketball contests with lots of prizes along the way. Creative this year, includes six new commercials featuring mascots, players and coaches.