About a week ago, a large wooden crate addressed to me showed up in the Flavorwire offices.The phrase “Stay Classy” was printed in giant, faux-vintage lettering on the side, which tipped us off that whatever was in this mystery box was related to Anchorman 2. Once it was open, I dug through the packing material to find an odd assortment of free gifts: a Bodum French-press coffee pot, a vintage stoneware coffee mug, six bags of coffee beans (labeled “24-Hours News Blend”), and a bag of sugar cubes. I couldn’t help but be excited about the free goods (I ate all the sugar cubes, by the way), but the tie-in — it was all to publicize the Anchorman 2-sponsored contest Hands on Ron Burgundy, an “online” endurance test in which the prize is a brand-new Dodge Durango — seemed super odd and forced.
As with the majority of promotional materials delivered to my desk, I mostly ignored it. But lately it’s been nearly impossible to ignore Ron Burgundy, the fictional TV anchor played by Will Ferrell. There are the usual trailers and TV spots that you get with any holiday blockbuster, but the Anchorman: The Legends Continue marketing strategy can only be described as a Hunger Games-level assault. But, you know, with more whimsy.
The promotional tie-ins don’t stop with Dodge. There is a Ben and Jerry’s flavor. The privately owned Newseum in Washington, DC opened a parodic exhibit. Emerson College renamed its communications school in Burgundy’s honor for a day. There’s the publication of Burgundy’s “memoir,” Let Me Off at the Top! My Classy Life and Other Musings, released last week. (At Grantland, Tess Lynch muses on the fake TV anchor’s appearance to promote his autobiography at The Grove in Los Angeles, which she describes as “a shopping theme park…[that] insists on being perceived as classy.”) There have been several appearances on Conan, and don’t forget Burgundy’s upcoming stint on TSN’s Tim Horton’s Roar of the Ring (which is Canadian for “Olympic curling trials”).
The message is clear: don’t forget about Anchorman this Christmas! Which, you know, is nearly impossible to do. It seems like the Anchorman demographic, which is certainly broad, is definitely is in the loop when it comes to the film’s release (which, by the way, was pushed up two days to December 20). But the onslaught of promotional materials, swag, contests, tie-ins, what-have-you, is so intense that, seriously, while writing this post I received two more emails about Ron Burgundy-related things: the first, something to do with Movember (gag); the second, what was promised to be my “newest mobile game obsession: ‘Scotchy Scotch Toss,’ a mobile game of deception, intrigue and ice.”
In an age when oversaturation is usually seen as a negative thing, it’s surprising how excessive these campaigns for Anchorman 2 have become. On the one hand, it proves that the publicity team is doing its job — and well; AdWeek praised the film’s social media marketing efforts, claiming it’s “a model for the future of movie marketing.” My take? Maybe the future is bleak and exhausting. I’m still planning to see Anchorman: The Legend Continues, but that was already a lock. In the meantime, I’m doing my best to avoid the blitz around it. After all, I go to the movies for escape from all the reality; I don’t need the reality to turn into a cinematic experience.