The Branding of Ron ...

Ron Bergundy from Anchorman

You’re probably expecting me to spit out the seven lessons of branding from Ron Burgundy in a tidy row of bullets.

Instead, there’s a more meaningful takeaway from the branding effort on Ron Burgundy and leading into the release of Anchorman 2 later this month.

Zig when others zag.

Like the science behind storytelling in which our brains tune out words we hear again and again, the same concept applies to building any brand. Throw enough money at a campaign based on the Branding 101 Handbook, and it will typically deliver pats on the back. But it takes fresh thinking to cut through the noise.

You can see how the latter plays out in the marketing of Anchorman 2.

Actors and actresses always do the talk show circuit to promote their movies. I’m sure Will Ferrell will be making the rounds as well.

But check out three other Ferrell appearances that fall under the unconventional umbrella, all in Ron Burgundy mode.

First, Ron shows up as co-anchor on a local news station in Bismarck, North Dakota, population 65,000 on a good day.

Next, he attended the Canadian Olympic curling trials in Winnipeg where he demonstrated that this isn’t his first curling competition.

 Ron Burgendy at the Canadian Olympic curling trials in Winnipeg

His third appearance takes him to the big city, Boston, but not to an expected venue. He ends up at Emerson College, which has renamed its school of communications the “Ron Burgundy School of Communication” (for a day).

Ron Burgandy at Emerson College

The three appearances generated hundreds of stories, tons of videos and ultimately over one billion impressions.


Of course, Ferrell’s name recognition and gift for improv underpin the campaign. Still, the safe thing, the obvious thing, would have been to use the NBA, local news in a big city and USC as the backdrops.

I think it’s fair to say the zig instead of the unconventional zag rewarded Team Burgundy.

Even a B2B company without a sense of humor can take the road less traveled.

All it takes is guts.


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