The Perfect Marriage: Ron Burgundy and Dodge Durango

The word is co-marketing. C-O-M-A-R-K-E-T-I-N-G. Co-marketing.

That’s the word Olivier Francois used when talking to Forbes about the Dodge Durango ad campaign featuring Will Ferrell as his Ron Burgundy character.

Is it an endorsement deal? Not really. Is it a placement? I wish it were, but the movie takes place in the Seventies, so we couldn’t do that. So it’s a co-marketing deal in which we endorse the movie and the character as much as the character endorses the car. It’s a cross-endorsement that’s never been done before.”

If you haven’t seen any of the ads yet, I recommend you pause here for a YouTube break.

Chrysler wants to sell cars and the promoters of Anchorman 2 want to start generating buzz for the premier date. Separate, they are advertisements. Together, they are viral.

Through a series of videos similar to the one above, Burgundy character talks around the Dodge Durango. Note: I did not say he talks about the Dodge Durango, I said he talks around it. He might occasionally say a copy point or statistic about the car, but doesn’t emphasize it.

This isn’t much of a change as most car commercials don’t sell data points. They sell lifestyles. They sell drives on country roads or visits to art galleries downtown. In reality, the data points are just part of the soothing voice-over. These ads work because they sell the cool factor of Burgundy, not the actual specifications of the car.

So far nine videos have been released and 61 more will be rolled out in the coming months. Chrysler has seen an 89 percent increase in website traffic since the launch and a 59 percent sales increase in October compared to last year. Oh, and the YouTube videos? They have more than 8.5 million views already. The results of this campaign have been tangible and immediate for Chrysler, two words that marketers spend their careers dreaming about.

But this is a relationship, not a sponsorship. Ron Burgundy and Anchorman 2 are getting just as much out of this.

screenshot12345Anchorman 2 essentially gets bonus features and extra scenes with this partnership. They can go the traditional movie preview route, but why? The Anchorman 2 production team is giving fans unique content that won’t be seen anywhere else in the form of these ads.

Francois explained in the Forbes article that the ads aren’t written by marketers and ad copywriters. They completely handed the reins to Will Ferrell for content creation. It took an immense amount of trust to let the talent take control of the script, but it’s clearly paying off.

70 videos, depending on whether they’re 30 seconds or a minute in length, will give Anchorman 2 between 45 minutes to an hour of promotional video content. Considering the running time of the first Anchorman was 104 minutes, these ads are basically the length of half a movie. Plus, because they’re written by the character and not the marketers, the result is a series of videos that look less like ads and more like Anchorman 1.5. It’s content.

As this campaign is rolling out, Chrysler will enjoy site traffic and car sales while Anchorman 2 enjoys the publicity from millions of YouTube videos and TV airings. Both parties are benefiting equally. That, my friends, is co-marketing.

Moving forward, these ads need to stay catchy without getting annoying. The Geico camel is a perfect example of content that flirts with the catchy/annoying line. If it was too annoying, the ad wouldn’t have 17.5 million views (as of writing this) and wouldn’t have been banned in a Connecticut school.

At the current success rate, these Burgundy/Durango spots could continue on past the opening weekend and run through the entire time Anchorman 2 is in theaters. Who knows, for the next few months, everyone could be sounding out m-p-gs (em-pguhs? muh-pug-guhs?) when they talk about cars.

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