Capital One May Get Charles Barkley on Twitter

Underscores financial giant's social-media focus

Charles Barkley's new gig as a Capital One spokesperson during March Madness may soon be bringing the ultra-quotable Round Mound of Rebound to Twitter—even though he's dissed the social site in the past. Barkley, who is analyzing the NCAA tourney for CBS and Turner, has never had a Twitter account (although numerous fakes exist).

"I think he's going to [join Twitter] as part of this pretty soon," Marc Mentry, svp of brand marketing for Capital One, told Adweek today. "We hope he's pretty out and proud in terms of what he's doing with us."

All told, Twitter is a big piece of the puzzle when it comes to Capital One's March Madness plans. The Tysons Corner, Va.-based financial giant has been running a bevy of Promoted Tweets that utilize relevant, college-basketball-related copy in a campaign dubbed #RallyCry. The brand has a newsroom-styled social media team on-the-ready this weekend, responding to tweets while watching the games and Twitter to pounce on real time marketing opportunities.

"You have to be nimble," Mentry said. "We set budget parameters. You make some bets on how many times a big moment is going to happen—where there's a big upset or an amazing finish. But we want to be within reason and smart about our investments. We don't want to chase every last thing that happened. It's part of of modern marketing. We have a strategy where we say, 'Hey, let's jump on things like this.' And every so often the red bat phone rings for me when I am not in that war room, and they ask, 'Hey, do we want to go all in on something like this?' And then we make a decision rather quickly."

Capital One is also running March Madness-themed Facebook ads, YouTube promos, general display across the Internet and has ponied up to sponsor's tourney brackets and webcasts. "Over the last couple of years our investment has gone up," Mentry said. "We see digital as the next front where we need to engage consumers very specifically around things like March Madness."

He added, "People are not DVRing what's going on. People are constantly chatting about the games in social media, and you need to be there for that…This is one of our tent poles. This is a big time for us. It's one of top three or four big seasonal pushes that we have."

Meanwhile, in terms of Charles Barkley joining Twitter, it's become apparent that tweeting is now an important piece to TV-based spokesperson deals.

For instance, ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale has been constantly plugging—and in some pretty random contexts—Allstate, Wendy's and Hooters on Twitter in recent days. Vitale regularly appears in the brands' TV spots.