Ron Burgundy DodgeIf you haven't seen fictional anchorman Ron Burgundy try to sell some Dodge Durangos, you should spend a little bit more time on YouTube. The videos are ridiculous and awesome. There are more than 70 spots featuring the San Diego anchorman--of course played by Will Ferrell wearing a red suit--doing his best to convince you to buy a Dodge Durango.

The more than 70 commercial spots were shot by Will Ferrell in a two day filming marathon. Several were adlibbed. (Because Ferrell's a genius). 

Dodge started releasing the ads in early October. They've released some online only and others on TV only. And today Dodge announced that year-over-year sales (November 2012 vs. November 2013) are up 36%. 

Ron Burgundy can sell some cars. 

It must have been expensive for Dodge to book Ferrell, an A-list star, as he was preparing to release a movie, right? 

Wrong. 

Dodge didn't pay Ferrell for the ads...not one red cent. Dodge didn't pay Paramount, the Anchorman movie studio, for the right to use Ferrell for the ad either. Ferrell and Paramount literally did the ads for free. Totally. Free. 

Why? 

Well, because they are genius content marketers.

Ron Burgundy and Dodge: Expert Content Marketers

Dodge paid the production costs of the 70 commercials. They also paid for the airtime and the online campaigns. What did they get? They got an A-list Hollywood actor to shoot a TON of freaking funny commercials. They got a ready-made online, social, viral, and TV marketing campaign. And they, in the end, got a massive revenue increase.

What did Ferrell and Anchorman get?

Well, with Anchorman 2 coming out on December 18th, they got 70 free commercials featuring their star. Let me repeat that: they got 70 free commercials. Anytime someone searches for a Dodge vehicle, dealership, or part, they see a Ron Burgundy ad.

They got the best free promotion in the history of free promotion. 

This is content marketing at it's best.

Both sides benefited. Both sides came away feeling good about the transaction. And both sides got a bargain. 

Dodge: Content Marketing Principles

- They produced content you want to watch (Ron Burgundy saying stupid and funny stuff).

- They made fun of themselves by allowing Ron Burgundy to mock their vehicles and say dumb things. 

- The campaign went viral.

- It didn't cost them very much (comparatively, of course). 

Anchorman: Content Marketing Principles

- They provided something of value (Will Ferrell's time and the Ron Burgundy brand). 

- They didn't pay anything for 70 commercials.

- They produced content that is consistent with their branding. 

Genius. 

How can you apply what Ron Burgundy and Dodge have taught us?