No Limits On Theatrical Product Placement And Pre-Release Marketing
Ron Burgundy, “Anchorman 2”’s main character played by Will Ferrell, is seemingly everywhere -- on TBS’ “Conan,” ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” “The Dan Patrick Show” on DirecTV’s Audience Network, and even a turn reading the news at a Bismarck, ND TV station.
And let us not forget those Dodge Durango commercials. Burgundy is also associated with a Jockey line of briefs and with Ben & Jerry’s. Then there those TV shows that go “behind the scenes,” such as an hour-long special on E!.
While many movies look to gain strong numbers in “four quadrants” -- young, old, men and women -- Ferrell’s target is mostly men and young men who are partial to his humor. ESPN is a natural proving ground, as it is for other young movie-making brands and personalities.
It’s all about the character. As Burgundy on ESPN, Ferrell could ask Peyton Manning pressing questions -- like why he doesn’t have a moustache. A strong entry point is that Ferrell plays a character everyone has a strong familiarity with: a TV anchor.
Other theatrical film performers, such as Jim Carrey, Mike Myers and Sacha Baron Cohen have also done in-character interviews.
Comedy is best with this, but it isn’t perfect. Still, can you see “X-Men” franchise characters pulling this off, or characters attached to James Bond movies?
The big question is “What is too much?” The answer is probably at a much higher level than you think. Research has shown that the poorest TV product placement executions have negligible effect on brands. At the lowest level, brands still get awareness lift.
In the comments section of stories about the marketing of “Anchorman 2” and Burgundy, people complain about it being overdone. For many marketing executives, this is good news. It means they may have reached near-saturation.
Ferrell, well-liked from his days on “Saturday Night Live,” knows how to deliver short, punchy -- and, yes, effective – TV comedy bits.
What about networks and shows that use this type of branded content? It’s all good cross-promotion -- something all entertainment platforms constantly need.