Ferrell, Durango, And The Notorious Curtain Exit
You see, Chrysler's Dodge brand is rolling out the 2014 Dodge Durango SUV with a campaign that uses Ferrell's anchorman character as spokesperson, thanks to a deal with Paramount. The tit-for-tat (besides spend) is cross promotion. Dodge is helping to advertise Ferrell's new "Anchorman" film, "The Legend Continues," coming out later this year.
Assets for the TV, print, digital and social campaign comprise video in which Ferrell shares space with the Durango on a curtained-off dais. He is clearly improvising as
he comments on the SUV and does hijinks around it. In one, he attempts to leave the stand after having extolled the vehicle's virtues, but can't find his way through the curtain (which seems a vamp on
George W. Bush's post press-conference moment where he couldn't find an exit.)
In another, meant to show off the vehicle's horsepower, he shares the stage with a real horse. After demeaning the horse for having only one horsepower, he discovers that the horse's foal is also onstage. Overcome with remorse that he may have created future business for an equine psychotherapist, he apologizes to the little horsey and tries to engage him in a conversation about what he's studying in school.
The effort, via Wieden + Kennedy, developed with "Funny or Die," of
which Ferrell is a partner, will expand to include dozens of other short videos leading up to the film's launch, per Olivier Francois, CMO at Chrysler and Fiat Group Automobile.
The creative is also on BurgundyDodge.com page; FunnyorDie.com; broadcast and cable including ESPN, Comedy Central, E! Entertainment Television, FX, and a billion other channels. Social includes content on Dodge's Facebook page, as well as Ron Burgundy Twitter Takeovers, Instagram video clips, a Tumblr page featuring animated GIFS and memes, and a dedicated Pinterest board for Ron Burgundy featuring videos and content.
At the Association of National Advertisers conference in Phoenix over the weekend, Francois said the company keeps Dodge aligned with its identity as a performance mass-market brand. "It has an edge, historically. It's loaded with adrenalin," he said, ticking off such measures of its strength and recovery as its two million Facebook fans, and 43% improvement in sales this year.
At the outset of his ANA presentation, he made a site-appropriate analogy: the best place to stargaze is in the desert. And the successful marketer draws the right brand equity constellations by using as much a holistic, synthetic mindset as an analytical/linear one. Oh, and the desert is also empty and quiet.
"Everyone in marketing should love the desert," he said. "It is a blank canvas, has cactus, which we are used to, and peyote, which some of us need." He did not reveal whether peyote was involved in the creative process for the new Durango campaign. You'd have to ask Ferrell that.