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Anchorman Ron Burgundy Ads Drive 61% Surge in Dodge Durango Sales

Inept anchorman packs them into showrooms.

by on Nov.22, 2013

The latest in a series of ads for the Dodge Durango featuring Will Ferrell's "Ron Burgundy" anchorman.

There are plenty of folks who climb the wall when they watch Ron Burgundy, the character played by comic Will Ferrell.  But for the folks at Chrysler, the inept anchorman has become something of a hero – a big hero.

Originally brought to life in the 2004 film, “Anchorman,” Ferrell’s Burgundy is back, not only in the sequel, “Anchorman 2,” but in a series of ads for Chrysler’s Dodge brand. And while Burgundy may not be the best TV newsman, he’s wildly successful at packing customers into showrooms, it seems.

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Since the new round of Burgundy commercials began appearing several months ago, sales of the Durango have soared up 61 percent, said Olivier Francois, Chrysler’s chief marketing officer, during an interview at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

In addition, the Durango is now at the top of the list of full-size sport utility vehicles in terms of consumer consideration, joked Francois, adding that, “I know this must be true because I just put it into a report I did for the boss,” a reference to Fiat/Chrysler chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne.

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Francois, who has built a reputation for his creative approach to advertising and marketing, has won a number of awards over the last several years for his often-daring work. But more importantly, it has helped Chrysler achieve more than 40 consecutive months of year-over-year sales gains.  And the Ron Burgundy campaign is clearly paying off for the Dodge brand.

Of course, the mantra in the ad business is “what have you done for me lately,” and so, even as the Anchorman tie-in campaign continues, the focus is shifting to what Francois and his team might have coming in the year ahead.  The bigger question is what the French-born executive has in mind for the Super Bowl.

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Chrysler delivered some of the game’s most widely talked-about spots during the last three Super Bowls, starting with an extended-length pitch for the Chrysler 200 sedan featuring Rapper Eminem.  It followed with another 2-minute mini-feature starring Clint Eastwood. And there are big expectations building for what Chrysler might do in February 2014.

“Don’t ask me about the Super Bowl,” Francois said. But while he’s not ready to discuss what’s in the works from a creative standpoint, the marketing chief said that each of Chrysler’s advertising campaigns is calculated to build on and enhance the unique characteristic and personality of individual brands.

“We’re mainly focused on building brands. The brands are the real worth of a company,” he explained, adding that, “Everything has to be tailored to fit that goal.”

One of the most challenging efforts was designed to support the decision to separate Ram trucks from the Dodge division and turn Ram into its own brand.

“It was very controversial, at the time,” Olivier said. Now nobody really challenges, the decision because it works. Ram has developed its own unique voice that has made a more effective competitor, while Dodge has been freed to explore its own personality, Francois said.

As for the Ron Burgundy spots, they’ve worked because they have created an awareness of the Dodge Durango in a non-traditional way.

“You never want to repeat yourself,” Francois stressed.

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4 Responses to “Anchorman Ron Burgundy Ads Drive 61% Surge in Dodge Durango Sales”

  1. Higheriq says:

    I must be the only person who does not think Will Ferrell is the least bit funny.

    • Paul A. Eisenstein says:

      You and me both! I have yet to find any of his shticks remotely amusing.

      Paul E.

  2. Jorge M. says:

    More than likely many people who didn’t even know a Durango existed, found out by the quirky ads. After the initial heroism fades then we’ll see what the residual effect is.

    • Paul A. Eisenstein says:

      It’ll also be interesting to see what happens after Will Ferrell’s late night knock-down of the Durango.

      Paul E.