Jan 06, 2012 at 01:27 PM
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Northwestern Mutual Replaces The Hartford As NCAA Corporate Partner

Milwaukee-based Northwestern Mutual will replace The Hartford as the NCAA's new corporate partner in the life insurance category. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the insurer's new four-year partnership with the NCAA, which was brokered by CBS and Turner Sports, will allow it to build its brand across 89 championships in 23 collegiate sports. Interestingly, Northwestern Mutual will take ownership to more than just the life insurance categor; adding the wealth management and retirement planning services categories to its deal.

The Hartford, whose deal ended in 2011, had been the NCAA's corporate partner in the financial services category since 2004.

"Northwestern was always known as 'The Quiet Company.' We're trying to change that and come out and tell our story more boldly, with bold messaging," Conrad York, vice president of marketing at Northwestern Mutual told the Journal Sentinel. "Part of this partnership is we are really stretching our brand to be not only life insurance, but retirement planning, wealth management advisory services and also financial planning."

Event marketing is a key tool for helping Northwestern Mutual's sales force do business in their local markets, according to Chad Dern, director, brand and advertising at Northwestern Mutual.

“The event-based strategy lines up really well for us,” Dern told AdWeek. “The association with the NCAA offers a greater opportunity for our reps to do community outreach.”

In addition to obtaining access to all NCAA marks and logos, Northwestern Mutual will get on-site hospitality at all NCAA Championships, including March Madness, the College World Series and the Frozen Four.