Will Ferrell has recently rocked the boat of traditional marketing tactics in promoting his new comedy, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. The impressive campaign seemed to have few limits, transcending from traditional trailers into Dodge Durango ads and Jockey underwear ads. Ben & Jerry’s even launched new scotch-flavored ice cream in honor of the theatrical star, Ron Burgundy. Interestingly enough, Burgundy, despite being fictional, has been the lead player in these endorsements, symbiotically promoting the character and the products. Burgundy has even appeared on the cover of Dog Fancy magazine, with his now celebrity pooch, Baxter. And in case that wasn’t odd enough, Burgundy also appeared on CBS local news, casually anchoring alongside of actual broadcasters. Marketers at Paramount essentially worked to blur the lines between fiction and reality, interrupting the daily lives of consumers with jesting.
The film also plunged into the social media pool that barely existed during the launch of the original Anchorman in 2004. In addition to their Facebook page, which has grabbed over 3 million “likes,” Paramount also launched a huge deal with the social media platform, Tumblr. Using GIFs, memes, and social media contests, fans have been thoroughly introduced to the characters and have been offered more than a just taste of the picture. And just in case the consumer has not yet been introduced to Burgundy, Paramount has also tapped into traditional marketing techniques including trailers and commercials.
Ron Burgundy has essential saturated the lives of innocent consumers in overwhelming efforts to promote the film. However, has he worn out his welcome? The campaign was certainly risky, but if successful, had the potential to renovate the basic principles that film-makers depend on to market their films.
With this film, there was a blunt swap from traditional “push” marketing techniques to innovative “pull” techniques. Consumers typically see about 5000 ads every day. Instinctively, they sort through the clutter by ignoring any ads that may seem irrelevant. Between the ridiculous plot and the extended down time between the original and the sequel to the film, many consumers may have overlooked the movie had it limited itself to traditional advertising techniques. However, since the eccentric announcement of the film in March 2012, Burgundy has embedded himself in our lives to a point where we can’t push him aside as clutter. Through enormous effort, Anchorman mastered one of the most difficult problems for marketers, catching the consumer’s attention. After accomplishing this, consumers essentially could market the movie themselves through word of mouth.
So, did the campaign pay off? It certainly did for Dodge, who increased year-over-year sales of its Durango SUV by 59% in October when the ads began airing. However, the effectiveness in promoting the film itself is a bit more complicated. Anchorman 2 hit theaters on Dec 18, 2013. Opening weekend, the film made $26.8 million, less than the original which grossed $28 million in the same period. We can deduce that the market may have been oversaturated with promotions by the time the actual movie came out. It is possible that the promotions began to compete with the film itself, hindering more than helping it. This being said, word of mouth continued to “pull” the movie along and by January the film had brought in almost $160 million internationally. The original had brought in only $90 million. Perhaps, in the long run, a strong movie fought back against an overwhelming ad campaign. Still, it is impossible to predict the success of the film, had Paramount approached its marketing more traditionally. As marketers struggle to reach that magic point of grabbing attention without overwhelming the consumer, Anchorman 2 may not have perfected the strategy, but it ignited new possibilities.
Heine, Christopher. “Will Ferrell’s Anchorman 2 Is Changing the Way Movies Are Marketed .” 24 Nov 2013. Adweek. Article. 23 Jan 2014.
Lyons, Dan. “Anchorman 2 Media Blitz a Flop? Ron Burgundy Is Laughing All the Way to the Bank.” 17 Jan 2014. Huff Post Media. Article. 23 Jan 2014.
“The Ron Burgundy marketing blitz.” 2104. The Los Angeles Times. Article. Jan 23 2014.
“What Anchorman 2 Can Teach Us About Content Marketing.” 26 Nov 2013. Marketing Magazine. Article. 23 Jan 2014.