News anchor Robin Meade licking a purse? Models on the catwalk? These unlikely elements play together in a new basketball ad aimed at steering casual fans to Turner Sports' and CBS's coverage of March Madness, otherwise known as the NCAA tournament.
Actors Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, hip-hop artist Big Boi and CNN journalists Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper make cameos. The ad's attempt to court a traditionally non-basketball viewership wins the day; a designer fumes over his creative block, then comes upon inspiration: pencils shaped like the iconic NCAA brackets used to seed teams in the tournament. The Brackets then become a fashion craze.
"When you look at the March Madness audience, it transcends sports," Christina Miller, the senior vice president of Turner Sports, told The Huffington Post. "It's about pop culture. And there's this sense of urgency that surrounds it."
Variations of the spot are running on TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV, which are providing live coverage of the games. Selection Sunday, the announcement of which teams will play in the tournament, is March 11 on CBS, and the tournament begins with the First Four March 13 on truTV. CBS will air the Final Four and national championship.