As March Madness gets going, kudos again to one of the most unique, niche sponsorships in sports: Werner Ladders. the NCAA still has its official net cutting scissors (Fiskars) and traction wipes (Slipp-Nott), but Werner remains one of the few brands that seems to always find its way to the camera, and the most important celebratory moments during Championship Week and into March Madness.
Now ladders are not something people go and buy every day. Like snow shovels you make your purchase and hope it lasts and does its job and stick it away again. The return on purchasing a ladder is probably even less, and given the millions who live in inner cities, the market for ladders is probably even smaller than for scissors. Yet Werner does an ample spend on platforms like ESPN during every March Madness run to make sure their brand is front and center.
Does it make sense? Probably so and here’s why. Of all those niche brands around the NCAA Tournament, the ladder probably gets the most exposure as the nets go down as teams advance to The Big Dance and then through the tournament and the millions of eyeballs watching. That “One Shining Moment” doesn’t happen around the rim unless someone is providing the ladder to get the players and coaches up to cut down the nets. Therefore Werner gets extended time on air with their product, replete with signage, during some of the most-watched and elongated moments during March Madness. It gives a brand which may get lost in the purchasing shuffle a bit more stickiness with consumers, and by backing it up with ad spending, delivers a nice one two messaging punch.
Werner will again sponsor additional highlights to help bring the excitement both on and off the court. Features include exclusive interviews from key basketball coaches to daring Dunks and Blocks of the Game all hosted on CBSSports.com. Add in an opportunity to capture a piece of memorabilia through the Rise Above The Rest Sweepstakes and a title sponsorship of the Naismith Coach of the Year, and once again the partnership grows and gains ancillary exposure.
Then there is the time of year. Odds are if you are going to purchase a ladder, spring is your time. The old one is broken, we need to clean windows and trim trees and move packages, so who do we go buy? Maybe its the brand, probably the only brand, I hear of during March Madness. So when consumer goes to Lowes (an NCAA Partner) or Home Depot the chance of brand association is that much higher.
Now do other brands spend direct to consumer to get identity? Sure. But to carve a unique niche with a mass audience and benefit from some nice spill-over exposure, Werner Ladder seems to have a leg up on its rivals. A nice niche carved with a very solid focus.