Buffalo Wild Wings is launching a new ad campaign, mobile and online game and a partnership with NCAA, in its quest to become "The Official Hangout of NCAA March Madness."

In addition to the Super Bowl, post-season college basketball tournaments mean big business for a company steeped in sports. During the 2012 college tournaments, basketball fans at Buffalo Wild Wings ate nearly 70 million traditional and boneless wings. With dozens of big screen HDTVs, wings and signature sauces, and ice cold drinks, Buffalo Wild Wings has become the place for sports fans to gather with their friends to watch the games, said Kathy Benning, Buffalo Wild Wings executive vice president for Global Brand and Business Development.

"There's just so much energy around the NCAA Tournament. We love that we've become the destination for fans across the country to share in that excitement. With our social atmosphere and every game on our wall-to-wall flat screen TVs, Buffalo Wild Wings is the closest thing to the action on the court," she said.

New ads highlight unseen force behind sports
Longtime Buffalo Wild Wings fans will note that the new advertising campaign features two ads with a nod to its past campaigns, which have recently sparked attention due to in-game mishaps during the 2012 football season — a sprinkler incident in a Miami Dolphins game and the power outage at the Super Bowl. Both were reminiscent of Buffalo Wild Wings television commercials in which a Buffalo Wild Wings Team Member extends the game by causing something to go awry on the field or on the court, Benning said.

The 2013 Basketball campaign, debuting in the weeks leading up to Selection Sunday, takes that concept to the next level. Like the company's previous "Overtime" ads, this campaign — created by 22squared out of Atlanta — taps into fans' desire to make game-time at Buffalo Wild Wings last as long as possible. Instead of sprinklers and power outages, the new TV spots feature guests sending the game into "slow motion" and another that adds games by extending the tournament to 256 teams — both allowing for more wings, beer and sports at Buffalo Wild Wings.

"We're always looking for new ways to bring that sports experience to life in our restaurants," Benning said. "This year, it was our TV spots that seemed to come to life during games, most notably during the biggest football game of the year, and our passionate fans were quick to point out the coincidence. Our new TV spots are the next evolution of that concept, and they are a key element of an overall campaign that we hope will entertain our guests and create a great March Madness experience in our restaurants."

Going mobile
The games will not only be on the big screens at Buffalo Wild Wings this year, but also on the small screens with an online and mobile pop-a-shot game that uses a new augmented reality technology that enhances the game when played in restaurants. Fans earn points each time they play based on shots made either on the mobile app or by visiting www.buffalowildwings.com/bigshotchallenge. A leaderboard will reflect the top 100 scores. Each week, fans with the top 50 scores will receive a $25 Buffalo Wild Wings gift card. At the end of the promotional period on April 8, one fan with the most points will win a trip for four to the 2014 NCAA Men's Final Four in Arlington, Texas.

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