Parched Madness 2021 Recap


Nick Wunderlin
Nick Wunderlin

on 6/16/2021

Like the NCAA tournament returning to CBS and our homes, we returned with another food beverage knockout tournament of our own! After crowning breakfast burritos as the champions of breakfast food last year, we wanted to settle once and for all which beverage was our social media audience’s champagnion!


Following the success of 2020’s Starch Madness breakfast food tournament, VIA Studio wanted to celebrate March Madness’s return this year with an updated take on the tournament. After internal discussions surrounding a new tournament theme, we ultimately decided on doing a beverage theme for 2021. Sixty-four beverages were selected to represent four different regions; Soda, Beer, Cocktails, and Wild Card.

Internal polling was conducted to determine the seeding of the beverages and new branding was created for this year’s edition of the tournament.

With a theme selected and assets developed it was time to promote the event. For our existing social media audience, teaser story posts were published on our Instagram and Facebook profiles soliciting guesses about this year’s theme.


Finally, a week before the tournament sipped off, this year’s theme was announced on social. Immediately afterward, an announcement email was deployed to our eNewsletter audience, directing users to follow us on social to participate and to read the case study for the 2020 Parched Madness tournament.

For the actual execution of Parched Madness, we generally followed the same format we had created with Starch Madness. When the tournament kicked off, Facebook and Instagram stories with polls were published to allow the VIA Studio social audience to vote on the winner for each matchup. The winner of each round moved on to the next round, while the losers were poured out.

One wrinkle in the campaign that was not experienced last year was the event of a tie. In the round of 32, two matchups resulted in a tie; Dr. Pepper v. Ale 8 and Saison v. Belgian Tripel. The design team quickly whipped up tiebreaker graphics, an announcement was made via Facebook and Instagram stories, and a tiebreak round was conducted, with Dr. Pepper and Belgian Tripel emerging from the tiebreak victorious.

Ultimately after four rounds of voting and the elimination of 60 beverages, just four remained; Coke, Pale Ale, Margarita, and Water.

After Coke spilled the Pale Ale and Margarita chugged Water, we were left with our finals matchup. Coke versus Margarita. With the ultimate Champagnion, Margarita, being announced the morning of the Men’s NCAA Tournament Championship.


Over the course of Parched Madness, 5,056 story poll votes were recorded, 423 of which went to the ultimate Champagnion Margarita. Impressions for VIA Studio Facebook and Instagram profiles increased +9% compared to the previous period. Meanwhile, the overall audience for the two profiles increased by +1%.

The overwhelming majority of Parched Madness engagement happened on Instagram. With Facebook story polls receiving less than 2% of the overall vote.

On Instagram, impressions for the VIA Studio profile increased +19%, engagements increased +48%, and engagement rate for the channel increased +24% for the duration of the Parched Madness campaign.

However, total votes for Parched Madness fell short of the benchmark set by Starch Madness last year. Parched Madness’s total votes were just 83% of the total set last year. However, the dropoff in engagement could be due to Starch Madness running during the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown when many users had more time to spend on their phones.

All the same, Parched Madness is a fun branding exercise that allows VIA Studio to offer an engaging event for our audience. In the meantime, let’s all lift our Margaritas in celebration!

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