13 Creative Marketing Brackets That Are NOT About Basketball

February 22, 2017 | Jessica Mehring

March Madness season is approaching … and some of us (ahem) aren’t huge basketball fans.

Good thing there are a lot of creative marketers out there coming up with alternative tournament brackets for us weirdos!

If, like me, you’re not a sports enthusiast, you might not even know what a bracket is. So first, a quick definition: Brackets are a series of matches in which the winner of each match advances to play the other winners until there is only one winner left.

Now that you know what you’re in for …

I’ve pulled together 13 examples of March Madness bracket alternatives. Read on to see marketing creativity in action.


1. Vulture

Vulture’s Drama Derby was a 16-show bracket to determine the best TV sitcom of the past 30 years. Each round was judged by a different all-star writer.



2. Heavy Construction Systems Specialists

The 2015 Most Interesting Project from Heavy Construction Systems Specialists (HCSS) pitted projects against one another for two championship spots: HeavyBid Bracket Champion and HeavyJob Bracket Champion.


3. BuzzFeed

The viral news site’s Animals March Madness Bracket is one of the cuter examples I came across. In this tournament, adorable critters competed for the win.


4. Bloomberg

Bloomberg’s Brackets for a Cause invited titans of business and finance to fill out the perfect March Madness bracket in 2015. Each participant donated $10,000 – and the pot went to the victor’s charity of choice.


5. The Morning News

The Morning News in collaboration with Powell’s City of Books created the annual Tournament of Books. The 2016 championship came down to Angela Flournoy’s The Turner House vs. Paul Beatty’s The Sellout.


6. SB Nation

Talk about “alternative.” The Worst Places to Buy Clothes was this sports media brand’s creative spin on March Madness, with a decidedly hilarious result. The “winner” received the title of Worst Clothing Store. Sorry … er, congratulations? … National Champion. Looks like you won.


7. 89.3 KPCC

In this annual bracket from public radio station KPCC, public radio shows go head-to-head. Last year’s winner was Radiolab.


8. TheFW

Here’s a trip down memory lane for you! This media site created a bracket out of popular ‘90s cartoon characters.


9. Star Wars

The annual This Is Madness Star Wars Character Tournament challenges participants to choose the heroes and villains they think will win each match-up. The 2016 winner was Luke Skywalker.


10. Thomson Reuters Company

In their Metrics Mania bracket, Reuters pitted schools against one another to determine which was the most influential producer of scientific research. The company looked at a different research performance parameter in each round.

Though the bracket is currently closed as of this writing, you can view the entry form here.

11. Consumerist

Though the last time this consumer news and information site ran a bracket was 2013, I had to include it here because it is so sinfully fun. The Worst Company in America tournament winner was Electronic Arts. The title that company took home? The “Golden Poo.”


12. L.A. Taco

This site is dedicated to “celebrating the taco lifestyle in Los Angeles, CA.” They run their Taco Madness bracket every year during March Madness season – the winner claiming the crown of “L.A.’s favorite tacos.” First-time competitor Revolutionario won the 2016 championship.


13. WHYY

Philadelphia public media provider WHYY crowns a new King of Public Media each year in their Public Media Madness tournament. Not only is the bracket fun to participate in, but it also brings attention to the important public media cause of educating and entertaining viewers and listeners of all ages.



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