March Madness upsets good for auto advertisers

There are no Cinderella teams left in the NCAA men's basketball tournament - the fairytales ended with Georgia State's loss to Xavier over the weekend. And even though the Sweet 16 is composed of elite teams - at the time of writing the lowest-ranked squad is 11th-seeded UCLA, which has most championships of any school in the country - there are still underdogs and surprises, and they are good for NCAA business and advertisers.

Last year the March Madness Live app, which allows users to watch games on the go, was downloaded 4.5 million times, a jump of more than 40 percent over 2013. Buick sponsors the iOS version of the app, but more than a million of those downloads were for the Android version, sponsored by Infiniti since 2011. Part of Buick's engagement is a "Boss Button" on the livestream sites that can quickly mask the page with something your boss won't question you over. It also sponsors a trick-shot competition for fans, has a display in Bracket Town during the Final Four, and its cars lead the team buses through the city.

Infiniti said last year's tourney increased online searches for the brand by 25 percent in March, and things are going even better this year: it's round-by-round bracket game drew 477,859 total entries in 2014, this year's game has signed up 534,350 already and the tournament has another two weeks to go.

The luxury brand is all over the event, promoting the QX60 through to the Final Four, then moving its efforts to the Q50. It sponsors the Coaches vs. Cancer charity and will have an Infiniti Lounge near the Final Four venue in downtown Indianapolis. So for the two automakers keeping their own scores... come on, Wichita State!

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