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Special Project

Special Project
From the 16th Annual Shorty Awards

Willie Singalong

Finalist in Financial Services

Entered in TikTok Partnership


Memorable March Madness moments happen on and off the court. So we went straight to the fans on social to take Capital One's newest tune (based on Willie Nelson's legendary song "On the Road Again") to the top of tournament charts. 

Objective: Be the most memorable brand of March Madness.


Strategy and Execution

The Strategy: develop a breakthrough social idea that encourages a mass audience to engage with Capital One during March Madness.

What developed from this overarching strategy was a multi-layered approach consisting of three key components:

The Star Power: We had the absolute privilege of working with the iconic Willie Nelson to sing a basketball rendition of his famed hit “On The Road Again” in a live recorded duet with Jennifer Garner (we still can’t believe it either). This was even captured vertically to optimize its use for social media. 

The Platform: We wanted to go where the masses are and it was critical that we choose a social platform that was not only an audio-on social platform but one with strong ties to music from both a user base and functionality perspective. Given that music was at the heart of this idea and TikTok has statistically proven it’s a social platform where music discovery and exploration rival that of some of the top music streaming platforms - it was a no brainer that TikTok was the right platform for mass engagement.

Furthermore, we learned that in order for users to be able to duet the video it had to be posted organically. At that time, Capital One did not have an active organic TikTok account so we turned to our partner, Jennifer Garner, who has both a TikTok account and a highly engaged audience on the platform.  She posted the original video of her and Willie Nelson singing to her channel and encouraged fans to “duet” the video.  Within minutes, there were over 100k+ likes.

The Support: The strategy was not to engage some fans. The strategy was to engage everyone - from the casual scroller to the die-hard fan. So, to demonstrate to fans that dueting this video was something anyone could do, we partnered with fourteen content creators with a wide range of skills and specialties.  There were micro lifestyle influencers who weren’t afraid to hit the wrong key, basketball skit artists who used trophies for mics, dancers who came up with original choreography for the music, and to round it out -  recognizable musicians and artists (if you haven’t seen Kevin Olusola beatbox, you haven’t lived).  Casting this wide of a net with content creators allowed us to successfully reach the full spectrum of fans and increase engagement organically.

With grit, patience, and help from some legends, the real reward was seeing “On The Road Duets” bring the masses the same joy it brought to Capital One.



Turns out a social-first idea, two icons, and a mass audience will produce memorable numbers:

175% increase in YoY social mentions

161 Million Views on TikTok

+ numerous hearts, clicks, and media captured by "Willie Singalong" throughout March Madness.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

GSD&M, Capital One

Entry Credits