Behind The Scenes

Kid President fills out his Tournament Challenge bracket with SportsCenter’s Robert Flores

Viral video sensation Robbie Novak – better known to millions as “Kid President” – recently visited ESPN to tape his latest pep talk to the world on #MarchGladness. In collaboration with SoulPancake, the video – which debuted this morning on YouTube – features Kid President breaking down his picks in the 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament with SportsCenter’s Robert Flores.

Front Row spoke to ESPN’s Katherine Boidy manager, Consumer Marketing about promoting Tournament Challenge via social media, the collaboration with SoulPancake and more.

Social media is a big part of the marketing campaign for brackets on this year. What was the strategy behind that and what are the goals?
March Madness is inherently social, and bracket games truly engage the masses. Fans love to brag about their picks and no matter if you are male or female, young or old, sports fan or not, everyone can fill out a bracket and anyone has a chance to win. We want to capitalize on this natural social conversation around the Tournament and connect it back to ESPN and our bracket game. The goal is to drive record sign-ups for Tournament Challenge, which we hope to do via social extensions that provide opportunities to grow our audience further.

How did the collaboration between ESPN, SoulPancake and Kid President come about?
The Social Media Marketing team (Tim Hubbell, Riki McDermott, Won Kim, and Michael Giblin) spearheaded our social efforts with a list of potential ideas to consider around March Madness in support of Tournament Challenge. We identified a video piece with Kid President as our clear priority from the start for a few reasons. First, the popularity of “A Pep Talk from Kid President” video, which was steadily gaining millions of views. Second, he has an overall positive message and mass appeal. And lastly, he has a clear connection to our brand via the “presidential bracket” theme, playing off of President Obama’s picks made exclusively with ESPN’s Andy Katz for the fifth consecutive year. SoulPancake and Kid President’s entire family played a role in the piece and we can’t thank them enough. We hope to have more opportunities to work together in the future.

What sorts of opportunities present themselves now that has both Kid President’s bracket as well as President Obama’s?
We’ll see how both their picks fare once the tournament starts! We hope there can be a friendly competition between them both, which perhaps fans could even participate in. Many people import President Obama’s bracket on and use it as their own. Now fans have a choice about which bracket to use and might find Kid President’s a fun alternative. Fans can also join Kid President’s group and challenge his bracket at We’ve found great success with celebrity groups and expect our fans will enjoy playing against Kid President this year.

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