Ron Burgundy and Content Marketing

anchorman2Anchorman 2 is now in theaters. The promotion for it is a great example of content marketing, an example that we can apply to the Web.

What is content marketing? It’s providing content that attracts and engages an audience, building a relationship that may bring the audience to make purchases at some time. Content marketing doesn’t even have to reference the product being promoted. In this case, all the content marketing consisted of Will Farrel appearing as Ron Burgundy, and in 70 YouTube videos highlighting these appearances, not once does he mention that a new movie is on its way.

For example, he appeared (in character) on Conan O’Brien’s show to promote a fictitious Ron Burgundy autobiography. The appearance was hilarious, illustrating how funny the Ron Burgundy character is, without even mentioning the movie.

As Ron Burgundy he did a series of ads for the Dodge Durango, and sales for the car increased, although it’s hard to tell which figure for the increase is real and which is part of a spoof. The commercials featured Ron doing such things as deciding that the name should be pronounced “Yodge”, talking about how many packages of gum the glovebox would hold, and so on. These ads were successful at selling cars, as well as promoting the movie.

I’ll confess to being influenced by all the content marketing–I saw the movie and thought that it was terrible! I didn’t even check reviews before seeing it.

There Can Be Too Much

When we’re developing content, there’s a danger that, knowing that we need to create a serious presence, we can produce too much. This happened with the Ron Burgundy campaign. Several weeks into the campaign, there were complaints that there was too much Ron Burgundy. The studio’s reply was that no single moviegoer would see more than a small part of the campaign, so individuals weren’t being saturated, although people in the media might think so. As someone who doesn’t see a lot of television, I personally saw only a small amount of the campaign, so it wasn’t saturating for me. However, this campaign either came close to overdoing it or they overdid it.

Good Content Won’t Rescue a Bad Product

Ultimately the movie was not a big success because of poor reviews–moviegoers who weren’t taken in by the content marketing campaign, and checked the reviews, didn’t go, in droves. So the clever content marketing didn’t save the film.

The Bottom Line

Because of the advertising results the content marketing campaign delivered, the Ron Burgundy character will continue for a long time, long after the dud movie is old history.

Like Ron Burgundy, build your content for the long term, so that your content can keep its value and contribute to the brand over the long haul.

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