With the movie Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues hitting theaters on December 18, comedian actor Will Ferrell is doing a full-on, off-the-wall publicity blitz—from appearing as a car salesman in commercials for Dodge Durangos to delivering an actual local TV news broadcast in Bismarck, North Dakota as his Anchorman character Ron Burgundy. “Stay classy, Bismarck!” (And don’t forget his Amsterdam bike tour with the band Daft Punk.)
By most accounts, the promotions are doing a stellar job of getting audiences revved up for the film’s release and changing the way movies are marketed.
While small businesses typically don’t have the ad budgets of Paramount Pictures, they can learn valuable lessons from the success of Anchorman 2’s marketing campaign.
1. Keep pushing the limit. If you want people to pay attention to you in this age of short attention spans and social media overload, you have to stay one step ahead and continually surprise and delight. The reason Ferrell’s Dodge ads have generated so much buzz—and even helped increase Dodge Durango sales by 59 percent—is that it’s probably one of the brands you’d least expect Ferrell to shill for.
2. Don’t take yourself too seriously. One reason so many Americans adore Ferrell is because he’s really funny. Brands that take themselves too seriously risk not making a human connection. By showing a humorous side (and some personality and humility), you can connect with your audience and customers in a way uptight brands never will.
3. Use all kinds of social media to your advantage. If you want your marketing campaigns to “go viral,” you need to make sure they lend themselves to being shared, and interact with the audience. Ferrell’s appearance on the Bismarck news station was quickly uploaded to YouTube and passed around to millions via Facebook and Twitter. Paramount is also hosting a mock casting call, in which people around the world can audition to “Join Ron’s News Crew” by uploading their own videos. Reaching your audience on different social media outlets and engaging them in different ways can help you create a far-reaching and memorable campaign.
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