In Q1 2021, Invesco QQQ had the opportunity to premiere its partnership with the NCAA. After a difficult 2020 postponed most live college sports, the return of college basketball and the 2021 NCAA Tournament gave Invesco QQQ the chance to step in front of a large-scale audience and fully publicize itself as The Official ETF of the NCAA.
For March Madness 2021, Invesco QQQ leveraged the principles of its creative campaign ‘Agents of Innovation’ (AOI). The heart of the AOI campaign was then adapted to create compelling and engaging content for the college sports audience. Without the onsite presence at the NCAA Tournament, we wanted to find a new and creative way to bring our brand to audiences, leveraging the massive brand reach of March Madness.
Research shows that college sports are a passion for financial advisors and high-income investors, with 70% of Advisors and 50% of Investors engaged with NCAA Men’s Basketball. The 2019 March Madness audience was 152 million (almost double the Super Bowl).
Our mission was to be impossible to ignore, and innovative in meeting our clients where they are. To do this, we leveraged our partnership to stand up an insights-driven, integrated go-to-market campaign that focused on our Agents of Innovation campaign in order to help raise awareness, drive consideration, and ultimately, increase AUM of Invesco QQQ and Invesco ETFs.
The Invesco QQQ/NCAA partnership punctuated all communications through the March Madness campaign, delivered through the lens of innovation in sports and sport-technology – areas in which Invesco gives investors access to through the Invesco QQQ ETF, which tracks the Nasdaq 100. Invesco weaved this thread through all communication and leveraged its bench of digital thought leaders to create and publish engaging content across social channels. An overview of key engagements include:
• Innovation Behind the Game: A series of spotlights on Nasdaq 100 companies whose innovations are revolutionizing sports.
• Invesco QQQ AR Hoops: The creation and deployment of an WebAR-enabled basketball game accessible via mobile devices hosted by former NBA legend Grant Hill and sponsored by Invesco QQQ. The Augmented Reality experience allows users to bring Grant and the basketball hoop into their living room through their smartphones, where they can swipe to shoot. For each basket scored, players earned digital dough and could see how much it would have grown if invested in QQQ over 10 years through an AR data visualization.
• Agents of Innovation Content Series: In partnership with CNN, Invesco spotlights inspiring and impressive entrepreneurs exploring innovation in business, like fifteen-year-old CEO of clothing brand Spergo, Trey Brown.
• Innovation Journeys: A content story with the founders of HomeCourt that showcases how the app is transforming business, and basketball, told through the lens of innovation.
• Invescology: An innovative approach to traditional bracketology, where a number of Invesco’s thought leaders completed March Madness brackets according to their various investment methodologies and shared their brackets on social.
• Client events: In lieu of bringing our clients to the games, we wrapped March Madness into a unique and engaging event series, featuring NCAA personalities aligned to our focus initiatives (including a virtual book signing for attendees)
The partnership also brought in some familiar faces: broadcasting legends Grant Hill and Greg Gumbel. Their voices added authenticity, credibility, and awareness to the March Madness campaign and to client, employee, and community efforts throughout the year.
Overall campaign performance (March 10th-April 5th, 2021):
Performance among audiences that watched March Madness:
The campaign also helped boost Invesco QQQ’s profile among the HNWI audience:
Additionally, the campaign was supported with: