March Madness – The End of Productivity or Best Time of Year?

Posted on March 16, 2012 by Comments Off

While some consider Valentine’s Day a chance to celebrate love for another human being, others view it as a sign that their one true love is quickly approaching – March Madness.  Most often beginning in early March, March Madness (otherwise known as the “Big Dance”) is notorious not only for propelling college basketball teams to super stardom but also for its effect on people’s ability to concentrate at work. Often cited as the most unproductive time of the year for many companies, March Madness is either seen as an evil event costing businesses millions of dollars or the best time of the year – bringing friends and coworkers together. For example, MSN recently found that more than 50 million Americans participate in March madness office pools, leading to estimated annual losses of $2 billion.

So, where did it all start? Why is March Madness such a big deal today? Has it always been this engaging? With the President of the United States now filling out his own bracket, the Big Dance not only attracts crazy sports nuts but has captured the attention of us “general” consumers (me included). Whether you’re dedicated to watching every single game (from regular season to conference tournament to championship game), are only watching to ensure your team makes it all the way or are hoping for a Cinderella Story, March Madness is now viewed as a consumer “holiday” of sorts – a time of year when people are allowed to watch sports at work without feeling guilty, are encouraged to challenge their boss on who has the winning bracket or trash talk in open forums (yes – trash talking is necessary when it comes to college sports).

In addition to the ever-growing popularity of March Madness, it’s been interesting to watch how companies and brands un-related to the sports industry are capitalizing on the March Madness craze and bringing their own products and services into the conversation. A couple fun one’s we’ve come across include an all-Madonna bracket, a Hello Giggles’ Sweet Sixteen candy bracket and a smartphone bracket. Whether building brackets for their leading products or challenging consumers via social media, companies are finding new and unique ways to engage with their audience by capitalizing on the March Madness phenomenon.

So, whether you’re hoping a one seed will take the victory or are rooting for your own Cinderella Story, where do you stand on the ongoing March Madness debate? Is it the end of productivity or the best time of the year?

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