AUBURN HILLS (WWJ) - Chrysler enlisted the help of a legendary fictional TV anchorman — and it's working.
In fact, some may say it's a pretty big deal.
Comedian Will Ferrell, in character of 70's San Diego anchorman Ron Burgundy, has done a series of Dodge commercials. Since they started running in early October, Durango sales have reportedly increased by 59 percent and Web traffic has jumped 80 percent.
"Ron Burgundy is like Dodge," Chrysler marketing chief Olivier Francois told WWJ's Jeff Gilbert when the commercial was released last month. "He's an American icon, has attitude. He's unapologetic, irreverent, and without a doubt, different. A match, potentially, made in heaven."
Chrysler says they gave creative control to Ferrell, who produced 70 different commercials. Many will run, but some were considered too "R-rated" for television.
The deal was created to promote both the new Dodge Durango SUV and the new Anchorman movie, which will be in theaters December 20.
"This campaign was an unprecedented opportunity to collaborate with our filmmakers to create new original content and distribute it worldwide in advance of the long-awaited 'Anchorman' sequel release this December," Francois told Gilbert at the time of its release. "With the personal involvement of Will Ferrell, our writer/director Adam McKay, the comedy team at Funny or Die, and the Dodge creative team at Wieden+Kennedy, we were able to create a truly epic partnership."
Francois said that he had long believed Will Ferrell would be a good representative for the Dodge brand, and the new Anchorman movie created the opportunity. The movie will be released Dec. 20.
"Just as Ron Burgundy is kind of a big deal, the 2014 Dodge Durango also stands out in a crowd with its combination of best-in-class power, towing and fuel economy, in addition to its class exclusive technology," said Tim Kuniskis, President and CEO, Dodge Brand. "The Dodge brand's partnership with Paramount Pictures and 'Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues' aligns perfectly with our consumers' sensibilities."
No word on whether the Durango's interior smells like rich mahogany.
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