ESPN Debuts Tournament Challenge Campaign “Go With Your Gut”

BasketballCollege Basketball - Men'sCollege Basketball - Women'sConsumer MarketingSales & Marketing

ESPN Debuts Tournament Challenge Campaign “Go With Your Gut”

ESPN’s Tournament Challenge game continues to be No. 1 with fans

This March, millions of college basketball fans from casuals to hardcore, will turn to ESPN and their No. 1 Tournament Challenge game to carefully curate men’s and women’s brackets. To get fans excited, ESPN is launching, “Go With Your Gut,” a campaign featuring three pieces of creative urging fans to let instinct lead the way. 

The three :15 spots launched in partnership with Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners (BSSP) – debut Mon., Feb. 27, highlighting how there is no surefire bracket prediction method.

From a woman coming across an azure-hooded blue jay and believing “Creighton will fly through the early rounds” to a man feeling a little husky, “like UConn” in his dress shirt, the creative shows fans going with their gut based on epiphanies.

“ESPN Tournament Challenge continues to be the No. 1 bracket game and consistently reaches a younger, more casual audience between the men’s and women’s games,” said Seth Ader, Vice President, Brand Marketing at ESPN. “We’re encouraging fans to go with their gut and embrace the roller coaster of emotions that March college basketball brings us.”

“Go With Your Gut” will run across broadcast, streaming, digital, audio, OOH and social.

“With this new effort, we wanted to embrace the fact that statistically, no one – not even the most well informed super fan – is capable of filling out the perfect bracket,” said Robyn Tenenbaum, Creative Director at BSSP. “The uncertainty and the madness and the chaos are really what make Tournament Challenge so engaging and so easy to love. We wanted the creative to highlight that feeling.”

Women’s Basketball Growth
The women’s game specifically continues to explode onto the scene. Earlier this season, a then top-3 matchup between LSU and South Carolina averaged 1.5 million viewers with a peak at 1.6 million. This was the most-viewed regular season women’s college basketball matchup on any network since 2010. 

Women’s Tournament Challenge saw a 76 percent year-over-year increase in participation from 2021 to 2022.

ESPN also was recently awarded “Best Innovation” by the Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association for the debut of the ESPN Fantasy Women’s Basketball.

To play, sign-up for the men’s and women’s games today!

Creative Credits
Client: ESPN
Laura Gentile – EVP, Marketing
Seth Ader – VP, Brand Marketing
Alex Healy-Lucciola – Sr. Director, Brand Marketing
John Lobo – Associate Director, Brand Marketing
Jon Little – Associate Producer II, Marketing Production
Lenny Washington – Coordinator, Brand Marketing

Agency: Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners (BSSP)
Sinan Dagli – Executive Creative Director
Robyn Tenenbaum – Creative Director
Lauren Byers  – Art Director
Justin Cannon – Senior Copywriter
Cade Wallace – Senior Producer
Jake Bayham – Head of Strategy
Cierra Moore – Strategy Director
Kyle Rodriguez – Account Director
Shannon Stucke – Account Supervisor
Krista Horn – Senior Business Affairs Manager

Production: Stept Studios
Ben McManus – Director
John Marsico – Director
Blake Greenbaum – Executive Producer
Rebecca Case – Producer
Jasmine Holdsworth – Production Manager
Daniel BennaIem – 1st AD
Bryant Jansen – Director of Photography
Eddy Scully – Gaffer
Collin Gallivan – Key Grip
Tyler Jensen – Production Designer
Christina Skillbred – Set Decorator
Brielle Mckenna – Hair & Makeup Lead
Yvonne Reddy – Wardrobe Stylist
Dan Cowan – Casting Director

Editorial / Finish: MackCut
Brendan Hogan – Editor
Ellen Schoenfeld – Assistant Editor
Gina Pagano – Executive Producer
Dylan Anderson – Producer
Steve Picano – Color
Nick Quiles – Animation
Jim Hayhow – Conform

Sound Design / Mix: Th3rd Sound
Sound Designer / Mixer: Chip Sloan

John R. Manzo

Based in New York City, John Manzo is a Communications Manager for ESPN with a focus on ESPN BET, sports betting, consumer marketing and corporate citizenship. He is a Michigan native, Detroit sports fan and proud Central Michigan University graduate.
Back to top button