Capital One: Spike, Sam and Chuck Soar With 'That's What March Is For'

All aboard the Barkley Blimp!

Charles Barkley can't carry a tune. That figures. But never fear. In a spot brimming with star power, Dionne Warwick steals the show.

She contributes sweet vocals to Capital One's March Madness-themed reboot of her 1985 smash "That's What Friends Are For."

The other original performers on that song—Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Gladys Knight—don't appear. But CapOne pitchmen Barkley, Spike Lee and Samuel J. Jackson lift their voices. (So you might want to cover your ears.)

They're joined by the usual famous crew, including Magic Johnson, Jennifer Garner and Jim Nantz, plus that Fighting Sam giant bobble-head from past campaigns.

Capital One | That's What March Is For

"Half-court shots
And mascots
Buzzer beaters
Pizza's at the door
And unlimited 1.5 percent cash back with 
  the capital One Quicksilver Card...
That's what march is for."

It's an amusing evocation of '80s mega-star videos like "We Are the World" and "Do They Know It's Christmas?" Everyone seems to be having a great time—even the Visigoth (a nod to brand commercials of yore).

"It's rare to get all those celebrities on set together, and watching them be in awe of Dionne Warwick, sing this ridiculous March Madness anthem together and crack jokes in between takes was amazing," recalls Ryan Carroll, group creative director at GSD&M, which helped develop the campaign. "No one wanted that day to end."

Pop music always drives these outings to some degree. Fans may recall that Gladys Knight co-starred in CapOne's 2021 March Madness extravaganza (with Spike, Sam and Charles as her Pips).

"Every year, our goal is to raise the bar and ensure that we are adding to the fan viewing experience," Carroll says. "We see this work as an extension of the entertainment and excitement of the games, and that’s why fans look forward to it.”

As always, Spike served as director. The campaign's four other commercials also amuse, with a ginormous Chuck blimp stealing the show. (No jokes about waistlines and hot air, people!)

Capital One | Chuck Blimp
Capital One | Magic Mart
Capital One | Key to the City
Capital One | What About Nantz?
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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is managing editor at Clio Awards.

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