Villing & Company

The Marketing of an Anchorman: How Much is 2 Much?

Full disclosure: I never saw the movie, Anchorman, and I’m not a huge fan of Will Ferrell. Much of his humor is a little too over the top for my tastes. That said, I think the marketing of Ron Burgundy (Anchorman 2) is genius.

You've probably seen the commercials featuring Ferrell’s character, Ron Burgundy, as spokesperson for the Dodge Durango. Turns out, Ferrell actually filmed 70 spots for this campaign – at no charge! Many of these spots became YouTube sensations.

You may have also heard about Burgundy making appearances in character everywhere from an obscure TV station in North Dakota to an interview of Peyton Manning on ESPN. What you may not have heard is that Burgundy was a guest commentator at the Canadian Olympic Curling Trials or that there is now a serious presence at the prestigious Newseum in Washington, DC entitled "Anchorman: The Exhibit" which focuses on the challenges faced by women breaking into TV newsrooms in the 70s. And, Emerson College renamed its communications department after Ron Burgundy – if only for a day.

But wait, there’s more. There have been memes, appearances on Conan and elsewhere - even a "Scotty Scotch Toss" game app that apparently lets you toss ice cubes in a glass while being mocked by Burgundy and his dog. And the social media activity has been relentless.

Not surprisingly, all of this promotion has prompted some to suggest that it’s overkill. This was the premise posed on a recent NPR interview with several media critics. In traditional advertising, there is definitely what is called a "wear-out" factor when an advertiser repeats a commercial too frequently. But that is not the case with the marketing of Anchorman 2. Although most of the promotional activities are based on Burgundy’s persona, each is fresh and appropriate to the medium or venue.

I believe this campaign is a real game-changer - at least for marketing movies. It is one of the most compelling examples of integrated marketing communications I have ever seen. The social media and PR aspects of the marketing initiative are strategically connected and create synergy unlike any other campaign in recent memory. As one of the commentators on NPR noted, "You might miss the TV spot (featuring Burgundy), but you'll catch him on SportsCenter. You might miss him on SportsCenter, but you'll catch the viral video of him hosting the news show."

Time will tell how much all this publicity will impact box office sales for the movie, but the campaign has already led to a substantial sales bump for Dodge and generated some 50 million social media mentions. To quote NPR hypothetically quoting Ron Burgundy, "Don't act like you're not impressed."

Filed Under: advertising

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