Warwick joins the company’s longtime March crew of Samuel L. Jackson, Charles Barkley, Spike Lee, Jim Nantz and more

By Sabrina Sanchez from AdAge

Editor’s Pick

Selection Sunday has passed, and March Madness is underway with the first four games taking place today and tomorrow (March 19-20).

Now, the chaos begins, and Capital One is getting in on the action with a humorous, star-studded campaign. “That’s What March Is For” launched last week, led by agency of record GSD&M, with five spots that show celebrities using their Capital One cards to tap into fandom moments during the NCAA tournament.

The first of these spots, “That’s What March Is For,” features Samuel L. Jackson, Charles Barkley and Spike Lee—a trio who have appeared in the advertiser’s March Madness efforts for years—joined by Jennifer Garner, Magic Johnson, Jim Nantz and Jeremy Brandt as they sing in a recording studio to the tune of “That’s What Friends Are For” featuring six-time Grammy Award-winning singer Dionne Warwick.

The video, which also calls to mind the 1985 studio recording video for “We Are the World,” composed by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie for USA for Africa, features double exposure shots and a dreamy filter effect to highlight each celebrity’s solo, before uniting their voices in a chorus.

The “anthem,” for the tournament, as Capital One described it in its press materials, celebrates the best month of the year.

A second spot, “Magic Mart,” plays on last year’s NCAA campaign in which Charles Barkley opened The Chuck Stop, a one-stop shop for all things NCAA. This year, the humorous campaign introduces The Magic Mart, an “even better” and competing one-stop shop for all things NCAA, introduced by Magic Johnson.

Meanwhile, “The Chuck Blimp,” depicts how the celebs rely on an unusual mode of transportation—a blimp in the shape of Charles Barkley—to get between the men’s and women’s tournament.

Capital One will be creating the blimp for real and will actually fly it across the country to Phoenix to the Final Four tournament.

Additional spots include “Key to the City” and “What about Nantz?,” in which Barkley receives the key to the city of Phoenix and gets followed around by Nantz, who announces moments in his life like a sportscaster.

“As a brand, we look for moments in culture, like the NCAA Tournament, where we can connect and create something memorable and entertaining,” said Marc Mentry, chief brand officer for Capital One. “Our cast of fan favorites helps us make those connections with audiences through truly fun work that we are always very excited to share.”

In addition to the spots, which will run on TV and social, Capital One will bring the Chuck Stop vs. Magic Mart rivalry to life with competing stores so fans can get March Madness merchandise at the shop of their choice. The brand will also run digital OOH in-arena signage and on-site activations created in partnership with Warner Bros. Discovery Live Events and 160/90.

The brand will also host a TikTok-first merchandise sweepstakes to win swag from either the Chuck Stop or Magic Mart.

“Only Capital One can bring this cast together for this moment,” said Ryan Carroll, GSD&M group creative director. “So every year our goal is to raise the bar and ensure that we are adding to the fan viewing experience. We see this work as an extension of the entertainment and excitement of the games, and that’s why fans look forward to it.”

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