For the last few months, Will Ferrell fully immersed himself in his character, Ron Burgundy, and traveled all over the country to appear in Dodge advertisements, anchor local newscasts, conduct interviews on ESPN, commentate Canadian curling, appear on Conan, and even hold a press conference at Emerson College. If you didn’t see Burgundy’s stunts, then you read about them, heard friends talking about them, or learned about them on the news. It seems nearly everyone in North America was aware that “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,” was scheduled to be released on December 18, 2013.
In an age when consumers fast forward through commercials, scroll past banner ads and click through popups, some good PR and a little creativity can go a long way. Director of the film, Adam McKay, estimates the campaign is worth at least $20 million in free publicity, according to Entertainment Weekly. However, while the campaign meant everything for awareness, it didn’t necessarily produce the results you’d expect. The sequel’s three-day weekend total of $26.8 million pales in comparison to the original’s $28 million in 2004. Additionally, the new film’s five-day total of $40 million is still less than the original’s $46 million, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Perhaps the low numbers are a result of a poor product. The New York Times writes: “‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues’ is in danger of being overshadowed by its own marketing campaign.” When searching “Anchorman 2” on Twitter, the suggested searches are: “Anchorman 2 quotes” and “Anchorman 2 terrible.” If your product is “terrible” consumers aren’t going to buy it, regardless of how well it’s marketed, advertised and promoted.
Others believe that the campaign pushed too hard and consumers grew weary of Burgundy before the film was even released. The Week published an article that discusses “How nonstop marketing killed my buzz for Anchorman 2” and suggests that Ron Burgundy was not an ideal character to lend himself to discuss real news stories. But as a professional marketer who’s always trying to gain exposure for clients, I can’t imagine saying “okay, I think that’s enough coverage” and letting up. John Greenstein, chief marketing officer at Paramount, led the campaign and said, “My job as a marketer is to want as much of the right exposure as possible because we believe in this movie so much and we believe in this character and we believe in these filmmakers.”
If you ask me, Greenstein did his job. He generated buzz about the sequel and gave people something to talk about. Although ticket sales weren’t impressive, the Anchorman 2 marketing campaign did wonders for awareness and blazed a trail for creative movie marketing. Still, the film will be in theatres for another few weeks and ticket sales could fare better in the long run - or perhaps movie rentals and DVD purchases will prove more promising. It’ll be interesting to see if and how movie marketers use some of the same tactics from this campaign in the future.
What did you think of the Anchorman 2 marketing campaign? Did you go see the film? What would you have done differently if you were promoting the movie?
As you’ve probably heard (how could you not?), on October 30th, 2013 the Boston Red Sox won the World Series at Fenway for the first time since 1918. This title was particularly impressive seeing as the Red Sox performed less than satisfactory last year.
The 2012 Boston Red Sox season goes down in history as the one of the worst that the team has faced. It was the 112th season in the team's history and the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park. However, 2012 was also the year of the team’s first losing season since 1997, their first season with 90 or more losses since 1966, and overall, their worst season since 1965. The Red Sox ended the season with a 69–93 record, a last place finish in the American League East. Needless to say, when the team suited up in April this year for spring training, the Red Sox was a truly tarnished brand.Just one year later, the author of this article from Sports Illustrated rightfully stated, “The Red Sox pulled off the baseball equivalent of turning around a hulking battleship on a dime in the middle of the ocean.” So how did the Sox go from a last place finish in the American League East to World Series Champs? Though they couldn’t have done it without Big Papi, good marketing and strategic PR played a bigger role in their World Series win than you might think. A recent article titled “How the Red Sox Won Back the Hearts of Boston Through Brilliant Marketing” credits five key rebranding tactics in the great Red Sox turnaround. Here’s the Big Fish take on these tactics:
1) Purge the Brand Killers
The first step in the rebranding of the Red Sox was to rid the team of those who tarnished the brand. They let go of manager Bobby Valentine, who proved to be a bad fit for the team. Valentine was unable to foster trust and communication among the players, which translated to poor performance on game day."The feel was different, the clubhouse was different,'' Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz said about their new manager. "Having Farrell back in the mix was big for us. A lot of the guys were here when he was the pitching coach and had a relationship with him. He basically ran a really relaxed clubhouse and then expected people to do your business between the lines.” In addition, they got rid of overpaid players who were not producing results.This included Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Adrian Gonzalez. These players were not only losing games, but also would have cost the Red Sox $250 million in salaries through 2018. 2) Be Accountable
Another great move by the Red Sox was to admit their wrongs. The team knew that it would be much easier to admit to having made mistakes and move forward, than to ignore that there was a problem altogether. In doing so, they opened themselves up to an opportunity to mend relationships and gain fans.
The article cites that at the start of the 2013 season, the Red Sox unveiled a new advertising campaign. The ads admitted that they let down their fan base the previous season, and looked to reassure them that the next season would be better. To add a cherry on the proverbial rebranding sundae, the Red Sox executed this move perfectly by putting the face of fan favorite, Dustin Pedroia, on the ad.
3) Build Community and Seize Opportunities
In light of the tragedy of the Boston Marathon bombings, the Red Sox stepped up and became more than just a baseball team for the city of Boston. As the article notes, they became the epitome of the phrase Boston Strong, wore commemorative patches on their jerseys, invited police officers to the stadium all season long, and commended the survivors at Fenway games. To further emphasize their love for Boston, the Sox even hung up a 617 Red Sox jersey in their dugout every game, representing the area code for the city. Through these efforts, the team made it clear that they value and are committed to the people of Boston.
"I was just getting to know the city of Boston, and all of a sudden, it happened and it pulled me so close to the city because it hit so close to home," catcher David Ross said in this article. "Remember 9/11, and it was like everyone was a New Yorker all of a sudden? [This bombing], it happened a mile from where we live. I'm a Bostonian now."
4) Add Personality
A major problem for the 2012 Red Sox, according to the article, was that the team lacked “likeable” players. A big issue arises when players are perceived as only being there for the large contracts, rather than the love of the game and a commitment to winning. There is a big difference between hiring big name superstars and hiring players that bring character and prove to be a good cultural fit.
For the 2013 season, the Red Sox brought in new players who seemed to be more personable and a better cultural fit for their fan base. This included Johnny Gomes and Mike Napoli. These players proved to have brought an ever stronger sense of community to the team, not to mention a newfound love for beards!
5) Win Games!
Although the article cites “grow beards,” as the Red Sox’s fifth step to success, I’d credit something else: winning games! No marketing or PR strategy would have been effective for the team if they did not produce results. Clearly, their rebranding strategy paired with high performing players resulted in a World Series win and the highly anticipated duck boat parade on Saturday, November 2nd. You can find more details about the parade here.“Return to the river, we want to go into the dirty water,” stated Mayor Tom Menino in a press conference on October 31st. Dana Harvey, Spring 2013 Intern
It's been an eventful summer in Boston and our interns have been hard at work in the office creating social media content, writing blog posts and pitches, developing media lists and more. We asked our interns about their experiences working at BIGfish this summer and what they have planned for the future. Read on to see what they had to say! We're currently seeking energetic and highly organized candidates for our fall internship positions! Click here to learn more about the position and how to apply. Karen Muller
Hometown: Feeding Hills, MA
College: Ithaca College, Class of 2014
Favorite part of working at BIGfish: I learned a lot from having the chance to contribute to a variety of different projects and from working with such an interesting mix of clients.
Most valuable lesson learned while working at BIGfish: Keep brainstorming. Don't be afraid to volunteer an idea, even if it sounds crazy. Crazy ideas can lead to great ones.Where you'd like to be in 5 years: I'd love to be back in Boston and working as an agency copywriter or something similarly creative. Morgan Kee
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
College: Tufts University, Class of 2014
Favorite part of working at BIGfish: Constant feedback has really been great. I also like the low key office environment.
Most valuable lesson learned while working at BIGfish: How to use various resources like HARO, compete.com and analytics software. Also how to do press clippings and media target lists, and how to code Wikipedia articles.Where you'd like to be in 5 years: Working at a marketing agency in Boston. Liz Blumenthal
Hometown: San Jose, CA
College: Boston University, Class of 2015
Favorite part of working at BIGfish: Building media lists and getting to learn all about Iceland!
Most valuable lesson learned while working at BIGfish: Know the voice of the company you're representing.Where you'd like to be in 5 years: In 5 years, I'd love to move back to the West Coast and work at a public relations or marketing agency. Alex Hitchcock
Hometown: Los Gatos, CA
College: Bentley University, Class of 2014
Favorite part of working at BIGfish: Pitching, writing articles, maintaining social media accounts and being directly involved with the clients. It was such a hands-on experience!
Most valuable lesson learned while working at BIGfish: Staying up to date with topics and trends in the industry of each of your clients is of the utmost importance.Where you'd like to be in 5 years: Back on the West Coast, working at a job I love in public relations or advertising.