Dodge Has Ron Burgundy to Thank for Sales Increase

We’ve been talking a lot about Ron Burgundy lately, as he’s appeared in promos for everything from whiskey to ice cream. But aside from being entertaining, we now know that at least one of his cross-promotions has tangible value — his spokesperson status for Dodge Durango.

The videos featuring Will Ferrell as the bumbling 1970’s-era news anchor have been viewed over 15.3 million on YouTube and are still attracting traffic. But video views do not necessarily a successful campaign make, so what kind of effect has the character’s sponsorship actually been having on the brand itself?

Well, it seems Mr. Burgundy was right when he said, “People know me…I’m kind of a big deal.”

Since the campaign launched in early October, traffic to the Durango website is up 80%, and what automakers call “lower-funnel activity” — actions that indicate serious purchase intent like building a car online or finding a dealer — are up 100%. One hundred percent! And while that’s impressive, sales of actual Dodge Durangos (AKA the bottom line) saw a 36% boost in November over the same month the previous year, and that follows a 59% sales jump in October, the month the campaign launched.

Great Odin’s raven!

Who knew shifting from serious campaigns focusing on the can-do attitude of Americans and featuring powerhouse stars like Eminem and Clint Eastwood to promos centered around a completely ridiculous, decade-old, fictional character could pay off so well?

But AdAge raises a valid question: with the character’s over-saturation of promotions, will the public soon begin suffering from Ron Burgundy fatigue? While our instincts would lean toward the affirmative, Olivier Francois, chief marketing officer of Chrysler Group, isn’t concerned:

“I don’t think so. The fact that everyone’s talking about [the ads] and about the upcoming movie indicates we’ve found the perfect win-win,” said Mr. Francois. “That’s important to me. If the car was sizably overshadowing the movie, our partners would probably not be [pleased]. Or vice versa…My belief is that whatever is good for Ron Burgundy’s popularity and awareness is going to be good for us. We are a team.”