Authentically aligning with its target audiences’ passions and playfully inserting the brand into culture by tapping into a trending phenomenon of fantastically wild facial hair that players rock on court during tournament season.
That was the goal for Pringles, as the snacking brand entered the NIL space for the first time during the 2023 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The basketball-filled few weeks known as March Madness morphed into ‘March Mustache’, as Pringles inked its first-ever national NIL deals by partnering with three men’s college basketball players known for their own mustaches.
As a flavorful ode to superstar ‘staches, the limited-edition Pringles March Mustache collection featured the iconic cans of crisps with some of the greatest fuzzed faces in the game, including Gonzaga’s Drew Timme, Virginia’s Ben Vander Plas, Duke’s Dariq Whitehead, and the Pringles mascot Mr. P.
The collection honored each players’ elite ’staches, including The Pringle, the horseshoe, the pencil and the caterpillar with ‘stache stats for each displayed along the can. Each can in the collection featured a fan-favorite flavor, including Pringles Original, Cheddar Cheese, BBQ and Sour Cream and Onion.
Pringles kicked off the campaign teasing that something big was coming on Instagram and shortly after Drew Timme shared an Instagram Reel hinting that Pringles Mr. P was inspiring to the return of mustache season. Days later, Pringles dropped its March Mustache Collection and each athlete posted about the partnership with a call to action for basketball and Pringles fans to enter the “Show your ‘stache for a stash” sweepstakes.
Using #PringlesMarchMustacheEntry on Instagram, fans posted pictures of themselves with tournament-inspired real or fake mustaches. 25 winners were selected and given the Pringles March Mustache Collection.
Total #PringlesMarchMustacheEntry submissions received
Total athlete posts
Total video views
IG reel view rate
162,000 organic views
Drew Timme’s reveal post
The unique content created by the athletes resonated with basketball and Pringles fans alike. Activating during March Madness – the most marketable time for basketball players – allowed increased engagement and positive brand recognition for Pringles.
“My mustache has always been part of my identity and it’s amazing to see the facial fuzz trend catch the attention of one of the most beloved ‘stache’d sporting brands, Pringles,” said Drew Timme. “I’m pumped to be featured on these new cans with some of my favorite ‘stache’d opponents – game on fellas.”
Great NIL work from Pringles: Tap Dariq Whitehead, Drew Timme & Ben Vander Plas to replace the Pringles mustache on the can pic.twitter.com/merGFfG83F— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) March 14, 2023
Prior to the launch, select media personalities received the Pringles March Mustache Collection. Sports analyst Darren Rovell tweeted a video of the collection, which resulted in 355,000 organic views. The campaign generated several stories in the media including, Forbes, CNN, CBS Sports, Sports Business Journal, The Seattle Times, Yahoo Sports, On3, Boardroom, and more.