Ron Burgundy: Unwrapping Paramount’s Marketing Brilliance

As PR professionals, we all know how difficult it is to make noise in the media, especially during the holiday season. So when we see a campaign that makes a public splash in all the right ways during this busy season, we pay attention and take note.

The holidays are a time to be merry, and without question, nothing in recent times has made me merrier than Paramount Pictures’ PR blitz and marketing campaign promoting the Anchorman sequel, starring Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy.

The Ron Burgundy campaign is a creative and memorable advertising initiative that has not only led to a measurable increase in consumer sales, but has resonated deeply with its target audience.

Unless your television has been off since Labor Day, you’ve undoubtedly seen the ads Will Ferrell has been starring in for Dodge Durango.  And I’m willing to bet whether watching in a group or alone, they made you chuckle or, at the very least, grin.  What I bet you didn’t guess is that the ads have successfully encouraged consumers to go out and actually buy the SUV.

The Ron Burgundy spots debuted at the beginning of October and October sales for the SUV increased by a staggering 59% as compared to September, according to Chrysler Group data (Bloomberg BusinessWeek and Forbes first reported the news.) Chrysler group also reported an 11% increase in October sales compared to the same month in 2012. Not impressed yet? The company has seen a nearly 80 percent increase in web traffic alone since the campaign launched.

The 10 million views the ad spots received on YouTube in their first 30 days are a sign that Ron Burgundy resonates like no other personality in pop culture. “Like the Dodge brand, he is confident, unapologetic, irreverent and fearless: as a result he is culturally relevant to our customer,” said a Dodge spokesperson in an interview with Entertainment Tonight.

That said, Ron Burgundy has been doing a lot more than just selling Dodge Durangos. Most recently Farrell as Burgundy was seen at Emerson College when its communication school was renamed for one day the Ron Burgundy School of Communication.

Meanwhile, Burgundy has also found time to:

So what can we take away from this?

With so many ways to reach the public these days you have to be original, unique and completely out of the box. That is exactly what Paramount has done with this campaign. They have replicated the fictional-character-in-the-real-world concept, and done so beautifully. They have also taught us that a spokesperson, no matter how outlandish, who aligns with a company’s core verticals, is truly its anchor.

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