Ron Burgundy’s kind of a big deal; if you don’t believe us, just turn on your TV. San Diego’s greatest treasure is all over the place lately, making damn sure you know about his grand cinematic return, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.
We’re not kidding around when we say Ron Burgundy’s all over the place. Seeing Will Ferrell, the actor behind the mustache, talk about this movie is more rare than an intelligent statement from Brick Tamland, Steve Carell’s dumber-than-Homer-Simpson alter ego from the same film. While most actors are content to go on talk shows as themselves, Ferrell has remained in character almost the entire time, even when amongst fellow comedians. Take a look at his appearance on Conan O’Brien:
Will Ferrell did not come out to play even once, because he’s not the star here. Ron Burgundy is. Ferrell’s just the physical medium. The same deal has played out time and again, in appearance after appearance. Here he is hosting the Canadian Curling Championships:
Interviewing Peyton Manning:
Co-hosting the Dan Patrick Show:
Giving a speech at Emerson College, that had renamed itself the Ron Burgundy School of Communication for the occasion:
And co-anchoring a legitimate newscast. Somehow, the fact that he plays it absolutely straight until the very end, delivering the news like a real broadcaster, makes the stunt even more awesome.
We also got footage of his failed 1979 audition for ESPN Sportscenter:
Every single one of these appearances is 100% Ron Burgundy, 0% Will Ferrell. Even when shilling for the 2014 Dodge Durango, he remains completely in character.
You can’t even get away from the Mustached One while waiting for your videos to play. While waiting for a Ron Burgundy video to load, what greeted us but a Dodge Durango ad featuring … Ron Burgundy. It’s Burgundy-ception!
One thing you might notice with these clips is that, aside from the very end of the Dodge commercials, you don’t hear about the movie. Ron Burgundy never once says he’s in a movie out in theaters worldwide, because why would he? Storyline-wise, he’s not a character; he’s a real person, who really is a legendary anchorman. He’s simply out there doing his thing, schmoozing with the people in his own weird way.
But Will Ferrell stays completely in character for reasons beyond storytelling and pure comedy — this is content marketing at its finest. Ferrell realizes that most people don’t like blatant advertising, so simply going out there and saying, “I’m playing Ron Burgundy in a movie again, you should totally go see it” won’t work. Instead, he has created all this entertaining content based around the character, designed to both make us laugh and indirectly remind us that there is in fact a movie coming out. And because he’s not tossing that fact in our faces, we’re more likely to reward his comedic content with hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office.
So even though his appearance on Conan largely focused on his fake book and his experience with prison riots, and his interview with Peyton Manning had more to do with mustaches than football, both existed to remind you of the movie featuring a character portrayed by Will Ferrell. The movie that nobody involved will directly talk about, mind you, and yet due to all the great viral creative content, everybody else is talking about. That’s kind of a big deal.