Academic journal article MEIEA Journal

Get Classy: Comparing the Massive Marketing of Anchorman 2 to the Non-Marketing of Beyoncé's Beyoncé Album

Academic journal article MEIEA Journal

Get Classy: Comparing the Massive Marketing of Anchorman 2 to the Non-Marketing of Beyoncé's Beyoncé Album

Article excerpt


When Beyoncé released a new album to an unsuspecting public on December 13, 2013 she was widely praised for the lack of marketing that accompanied the record. Out of the blue, it was there, available worldwide on iTunes. Singles, the most popular configuration on Apple's store, were not made available. Instead, those wanting Beyoncé's new music had to purchase the full album for US$15.99. This harkened back to an era when record labels made most of their money from sales of full-length CDs. Because Beyoncé included seventeen new videos, this "visual album"1 included enough value that neither fans, critics, nor the greater music industry complained. The headlines were supportive:

"The Brilliant Business Strategy Behind Beyoncé's Record Breaking Weekend."2

"Beyoncé Broke The Music Business: Release Of Her New LP Changes Everything."3

By the following week, this surprise release was the number-one album on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart and breaking iTunes sales records around the world.

Five days later a movie began playing in theaters around the country that was anything but a surprise. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, a comedy starring Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, and Paul Rudd, had been announced with great fanfare a full twenty months earlier. The marketing and promotion that followed became what one writer considered the "most content-rich marketing campaign in history."4 From social media to unique corporate partnerships, in addition to traditional marketing elements, Anchorman 2 beat the first movie's box office internationally by more than eight times while breaking the domestic $100 million tally, something its predecessor could not do.

How did Beyoncé do it? In an industry built on tried and true prerelease marketing tactics, what did she and her team do differently? How did the Anchorman 2 team do it? What made their marketing campaign so different from traditional movie marketing campaigns? This paper describes the background behind each brand and then highlights the different aspects of each operation. Then it examines the key techniques and characteristics the two teams shared to see what young filmmakers and unsigned, do-it-yourself musicians can leam to achieve their own successes.

Anchorman Background (2004-2013)

On Friday, the ninth of July in 2004, Paramount Pictures released a film with a $26 million budget5 titled Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. By Sunday evening, the film had earned back its production budget with receipts of $28.4 million.6 By the time the film left theaters on October 7, it had earned over $90 million worldwide.7

Anchorman, as the film came to be known, was not a massive hit. Even with international ticket sales, the movie couldn't break the film industry's $100 million benchmark for hits. It was a success, but not the kind of success that spawns sequels and prequels. The director/co-writer, Adam McKay, star/co-writer Will Ferrell, and cast members, including Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, and Christina Applegate, carried on with their careers creating and acting in other projects. Anchorman was in their rearview mirrors.

Paramount spent $40 million on prints and promotion for the film.8 While the theatrical box office didn't break any records, the film did take on legendary status upon its home video release on December 28, 2004. Rather than package the film with the customary single DVD, Paramount took extra steps. In addition to the original theatrical release, it also made an unrated version of the film available. Also, what has been coined a "spiritual sequel"9 or "alternate film companion,"10 Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie was included. This additional film was made up of scenes edited out of the finished theatrical release. Enough content existed to create this standalone film. Because of the film's eventual airing and re-airing on pay and basic cable stations including HBO, TBS, and TNT, plus the growing influence of video social-sharing networks like YouTube, Anchorman's shelf life persisted for years. …

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