Anchorman 2: The legend of Ron Burgundy’s unconventional marketing campaign

Great Odin’s Raven!! Ron Burgundy has been popping up just about everywhere these days leading up to the release of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. Burgundy, the fictional news anchor played by Will Ferrell, has truly come to life. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Adam McKay, Anchorman’s director, estimates that all of these unique and free marketing opportunities are worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 million.

Completely in character, Ferrell has taken method acting to the next level by doing real interviews with Peyton Manning on ESPN, serenades with Robin Thicke, an interview on Conan, hosting a real North Dakota local news program, advertising Dodge automobiles, and speaking at Emerson College.

Like all strong comedy, this campaign operates under a simple and clear premise: What would Ron Burgundy be doing if he was real? The fictional news persona would host interviews, he would make speeches at journalism schools, and he would moderate sporting events. Ferrell and McKay are capitalizing on all the places a famous anchor would be found. This allows the viewer to watch and think, “Oh, Ron Burgundy definitely would be moderating a Canadian Women’s Curling Match.”

The viral nature of the internet mixed with a beloved character makes for a marketing goldmine. By transcending the boundaries of how the public believes typical Hollywood movie stars should behave, Ferrell is bringing this personality to life. Viewers are excited to see where he will pop up next and are eager to follow his progress. While the Dodge campaign is more of a traditional advertising strategy, attempting to name a building after himself at Emerson certainly is not.

It is odd to think that something like this hasn’t been done in the past, right? It would have been cool to see Leo Dicaprio as Jay Gatsby at a Yacht Show in Miami or, perhaps, Hugh Jackman as Wolverine on Monday Night Football. What can be said is that not every movie/character can pull this kind of promotion off.  It would not have worked, for example,  with Daniel Day Lewis portraying Abraham Lincoln on Good Morning America. 

The Ron Burgundy legend is indeed continuing. Check out some of these stats from a selection of Burgundy’s various appearances on YouTube:

Dodge Commercials (70 in total)

– “It Comes Standard“: 4,908,602 views

– “Ballroom Dancers“: 4,504,752 views

– “Staring Contest“: 3,338,687 views

Interview with Peyton Manning on ESPN: 3,661,717 views

Song about Rob Ford on Conan: 1,578,810 views

Joins North Dakota newscast: 973,158 views

It’s a perfect cocktail of buzz, star power, and randomness is backed by a strong and simple, dare I say classy, idea.

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