Apr 05, 2010 at 08:33 PM
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For Just Such An Occasion, The NCAA's Official Ladder

Of all the NCAA's corporate affiliations on display tonight, perhaps none is more bizarre on the surface than little known, Werner Ladders, which is the Official Ladder of NCAA Basketball. That is until you consider March Madness' timeless celebratory ritual: cutting down the nets.

As a new champion is being crowned, a specially-sized 9 foot fiberglass HolsterTop stepladder will be brought out to provide access to the net for the winning team's players and coaches. The branded ladder will even feature a built-in magnetic strip to safely secure the scissors used to cut down the nets. Werner Ladders have been used in all the NCAA opening round games, at the NCAA Women's Final Four in San Antonio., as well as the Division II & III Championship games, but tonight as One Shining Moment goes off, the folks at Werner Ladder will get the most mileage out of their NCAA sponsorship.

"Werner is really looking forward to seeing who will rise to the top and climb this year's Werner ladders at the end of the championship games. Our ladders continue to be an integral part of the climb to the top for these outstanding student-athletes, and we are proud to once again bring the net-cutting ceremonies closer to the winning student-athletes and the coaches," said Chris Filardi, Vice President, Senior Vice President of Marketing.

While tonight is the crowning moment of the campaign, the activation has been the center of a season-long effort. Visitors to Werner's "Who Will Rise Above The Rest?" microsite have been able to follow the ladder in its appearances, access exclusive content on "cutting down the net" moments and play the Werner Skills Challenge Game.

Werner also ties in with retail partner, Lowe's, which is an Official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, as seen through this video.

If nothing else, the partnership made an impact with at least one marketer and blogger. Todd Liss writes:

"I don’t buy ladders, I’m not in the market for a ladder, I don’t see myself buying a ladder in the next 10 years, and I sure don’t have any brand recognition in the ladder category, let alone a brand preference. But guess what? I sure know about Werner Ladders now. They have instant brand recognition and are at the top of my consideration set by default."

So as either Duke or Butler tonight takes home what announcers may call "the hardware," Werner's marketing team will make sure the NCAA champion gets another piece of coveted hardware. As part of the deal, tonight's winning institution will get to keep one HolsterTop for permanent display in the trophy case on campus.