Finally, after months of anticipation and media saturation, Anchorman 2 arrives in theaters. And it had quite the advertising cross-promotional blitz a movie has rarely seen. Product placements for movies are common for super hero and fast food tie-ins or chic products promoting the latest James Bond feature. However, nothing like Anchorman 2’s disciplined and thought out campaign has come close to what Paramount achieved.
But first, how was the movie? Though it is hard to live up to the original predecessor, I can confidentially say it isn’t as bad as I dreaded and actually very funny! For a sequel, Anchorman 2 is an outrageously energetic, constantly laugh-out-loud movie that the dismal comedic 2013 needed…just in time for the end of year (even most of the flat, unfunny moments which miss the mark garner a WTF reaction). Cameos, brisk one-liners, and stupid humor, galore! What a nice present for the Holidays. At times, it even has a satirical, modern message that the news must not entertain but to inform the general public as a means to keep the powerful accountable. What a needed message in our day of age of Miley Cyrus and reality TV distracting us from The NSA and Edward Snowden revelations.
Beyond the hype of expectations, the belly laughs, and everlasting quotable one-liners, Anchorman 2’s watershed, big studio marketing campaign will linger for years within the Entertainment Industry. From Dodge Truck ads, Jockey Underwear, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor, Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy on a North Dakota news station, the Peyton Manning interview on ESPN, some expected Funny or Die videos Funny or Die short (one even showcased CNN anchors Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer), and even exposure on the Huffington Post (who would find the climatic message welcoming), Anchorman 2 showed up anywhere and everywhere. In all my years of following movies, I cannot remember a branding campaign that saturated the airwaves and filled the bandwidth among its target demo.
For other future releases, studios will copy this strategy but this could be hard to imitate. One can see why Paramount pulled all the stops and could be concerned with launching another successful product. It is hard to do. Sequels that come out years later past their prime have a tendency not to do well at the box office. Anchorman 2 had a robust, cross-promotional marketing campaigning…probably the best of any other 2013 release. Beyond this year, the campaign behind Anchorman 2 felt like a game changer for cross marketing product placements and movie promotions with constant advertisements on TV selling a product and a movie. Get used to it.