A decade feels like an eternity in the movie franchise marketplace, but for a recent classic like Anchorman, reinvigorating the public's interest should be no problem at all. So why has Paramount overloaded its banner comedy of the year with an unhealthy dose of marketing partnerships?
While money is the obvious answer—Paramount makes a killing off of licensing the Anchorman name out to different partners—too many partnerships can force a movie to reach an oversaturation point before it even premieres. And in Anchorman 2's case? It's basically already there, thanks to multiple high-profile marketing gimmicks with Chrysler, Ben & Jerry's, AMC movie theaters, Jockey underwear, and most recently, the Washington D.C. news museum, Newseum.
The Chrysler partnership brought Anchorman star Will Ferrell's company, Funny or Die, into the fold with Paramount and the 2014 Dodge Durango. Funny or Die created a colossal 70 commercials for the SUV, all starring Ferrell as Ron Burgundy. Fans flocked to the spots (only nine have been rolled out so far), many of which have garnered views in the multimillions on YouTube. While the campaign has worked for Chrysler—sales of the Durange are up 59% in just October alone—its safe to assume that the law of diminishing returns is going to quickly apply to the remaining 61 commercials as they begin to air.
The Ben & Jerry's partnership for Ron Burgundy 'Scotchy, Scotch, Scotch' ice cream makes slightly more sense, given the Vermont company's penchant for pairing with entertainment properties. The Jockey partnership, which aims to sell men tight briefs in colors like "Sex Panther Red" and "Beard of Zeus Blue" urges boxer-wearing men to "Give your little anchorman the support he deserves." (The teaming up was born out of the Anchorman 2 costume designer reaching out to Jockey to see if they would recreate some 70s-looking skivvies). For better or worse, the underwear says nothing about Anchorman 2, the movie name is only on the easily discarded plastic wrap the briefs come in. And the cost? $18 for a single pair.
The partnership with the Newseum is the latest sign that this nation has succumbed to Anchormadness. The Washington D.C. museum opened an exhibit yesterday entirely dedicated to the film, its cast, and props. The LA Times reports that the partnership came about after Ferrell visited the museum last summer for a screening and decided that he wanted the museum to feature an Anchorman exhibit. To appease critics that might point out the fact that the film isn't actually journalism, and just fictional, the exhibit—which runs through August 2014—will apparently reference "the reality behind the humor of Anchorman."
While all four of these partnerships, along with a fifth AMC partnership for a $50 "super ticket," have been garnering vast media attention in the last month, the movie doesn't premiere until December 20th. That leaves a whole other month for marketing of a movie that's already affixed with nine years of immensely high expectations. The film hasn't been screened for critics yet, so reviews have been replaced by a 98% rate of people who want to see the film on Rotten Tomatoes (which has Newseum banner ads displayed all over its website). Will the film be able to live up to Anchorman's legacy? Or will it fall flat, crushed further by one too many clever marketing campaigns?