Acura’s Social Strategy for March Madness Centers on 103 Memes

'March Memeness' ties into ESPN ads

For March Madness, Acura is blitzing today and three days next week with video and banner ads—which likely cost a pretty penny—as part of the car brand's ongoing partnership with the cable sports giant.

More interestingly, Acura also aims to generate organic buzz around much of the content that's in those digital ads. The Japan-based company's marketing team has concocted 103 pun-minded memes for Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook, hoping to deliver a social media slam dunk. The campaign, dubbed "March Memeness," pushes the Acura 2016 ILX.

For instance, one meme involves video of a crying baby with the humorous copy: "Upset, baby!!!" Another example entails a young man and woman kissing on the beach: "Rebound!!!" And a "Barn Burner!!!" meme (pictured above) includes a clip of, of course, a big country shed on fire.

"The content and creative is more than we've ever done for this sponsorship," said David Swaebe, svp, agency communications and business development at Mullen, Acura's lead creative agency.

The memes are a mix of 15-second videos and GIFs, which can be seen on the brand's Tumblr page. Here's a rapid-fire video Mullen put together to give people a glimpse into the creative.

In another digital play, the automaker has created player cards for its vehicles that are being pushed through its social properties.

Acura rep Jessica Fini said the company would engage in real-time marketing efforts on March 26, and "depending on how that goes," potentially also on March 28 and 29.

Meanwhile, MediaVest handled the brand's media planning and buying.