More than 60 million Americans fill out a NCAA bracket each year and companies have been eager to piggy-back on the March Madness pop culture frenzy.
Warren Buffett's offer of $1 billion for a perfect men’s basketball bracket has been described as a genius marketing stunt for Quicken Loans, even though the odds of someone winning it are 9.2 quintillion-to-1.
Most Final Four-style brackets, though, have nothing to do with basketball. The White House touted Obamacare with a GIF-friendly Affordable Care Act bracket called “The 16 Sweetest Reasons to Get Covered."
U.S. & World
Here are some of the more ridiculous March Madness-style brackets:
Bodega Cat Bracket
WNYC is holding a tournament of champions for felines whose job is to catch mice in New York City delis. The radio station is asking people to submit pictures via Instagram and Twitter (#bodegacatbracket) of their favorite neighborhood bodega cat along with details about why that cat is best. The station will choose the “Sweet 16” and open up to the public the vote for top cat.
Lent Madness Bracket
A bracket created by Father Tim Schenck of St. John the Evangelist Church in Hingham, Mass., pits 32 saints against each other. The idea is to introduce the holy men and women to Episcopalians in a fun way during the 40 days of Lent leading up to Easter, according to Schenck.
"Well, it's the saintly smackdown,” Schenck told NECN. “We put 32 saints in a bracket and we have them go at it.”
The draw will get whittled down to a Saintly 16, a Faithful Four, then one Golden Halo winner.
The Saddest NCAA Pool in America
RiseSmart, a California-based company that provides career management solutions, created a contest for “all of America’s unemployed.” The Associated Press called the bracket the "saddest NCAA pool in America."
"The contest gives unemployed people a well-earned break from their job searches and a chance to win popular prizes," RiseSmart said in a release plugging the marketing stunt. "It also gives participants an opportunity to interact with one another and feel re-engaged in the workforce."
Prizes include: iPad Air, Kindle Fire and Apple TV.
Jezebel's Drugs vs. Alcohol
The popular gossip site's bracket pits 32 legal and illegal drugs against 32 types of alcoholic drinks (hard alcohol and "soft stuff" included). In the illegal drugs division, weed received most of the votes, and caffeine was the legal drug favorite.
On the beverage side of the bracket, margaritas were the hard alcohol favorite. Champagne took most of the votes in the "soft stuff" category.
Last year, Jezebel's bracket was the '80s vs. the '90s.
Public Radio Bracket Nastiness
Southern California radio station KPCC's bracket is decidedly less outrageous. It asks listeners to vote for their favorite public radio shows, including NPR's "Wait...Wait Don't Tell Me," "Live Wire!", "99% Invisible" and "The Afternoon Shift."
The first round of voting, with 32 of the best shows in public radio, closed Wednesday afternoon. Championship voting begins April 5 before coming to a close on Sunday, April 8. The results of the championship bout will be announced April 9.
Judging by comments on Twitter, the friendly competition has led to an all-out Twitter war.
"It. Is. On." tweeted NPR's "Fresh Air."
"I think our new strategy is to lull @NPRFreshAir to sleep, then stab them where they lay. We may not be able to win a fair fight," said Jesse Thorn of "Bullseye," which is distributed nationally by NPR.
"Snap shall feast on the bones of our vanquished!," tweeted "Snap Judgement."