For a fake news anchor, Ron Burgundy sure gets a lot of work, doesn’t he?
Will Ferrell has been pimping Anchorman 2 like crazy, all in-character as Burgundy himself. You’ve seen him peddling Dodges – which Ferrell does for free. Today, Emerson College attracted the attention of transparent eyeballs everywhere by renaming their communications school after Burgundy for a day while Farrell bums around campus in costume. Last week he showed up on a North Dakota newscast; tomorrow, he hosts SportsCenter with David Koechner. (Whammy!)
Adweek posits that the Month of Burgundy will change how movies are promoted. (That’s probably not true: not every movie could be promoted this way. Martin Freeman will not spend a month walking around Boston looking like Bilbo Baggins.)
This may seem scattershot, but look closely at this promotion strategy. It’s actually quite targeted; Farrell and Company are not just throwing anything against the wall to see what sticks.
The audience for Anchorman 2 is most likely 18-35 year olds – and probably the men in that group more so than the women. The youngest are college students who enjoy the brand of humor, the eldest are people in their mid-20s when the original came out last year. They are the people dropping cable and consuming entertainment mostly online.
The idea of Ron Burgundy chilling on the quad at Emerson probably appeals to them, as does the YouTube clips of Farrell showing up in character on a North Dakota news set. The best chance to reach this group through live TV is probably sports. Not only does that make the SportsCenter appearance effective, but Farrell’s pro-bono Dodge commercials run during Sunday afternoon football games. That’s some great real estate to get for free.
It seems like Ron Burgundy is everywhere these days, but don’t be fooled: Papa Burgundy probably knows just what he’s doing.
The Organizing for America/Obama Campaign folks took some ribbing in the past week for their campaign to get people talking about Obamacare around the Thanksgiving table. OFA provides you talking points on your way home, and you are supposed to convince your Drunk Uncle that Health Insurance is a good thing.
As silly as the campaign is, here’s the really ridiculous part: There’s no engagement of the actual issues people are talking about. People are seeing their premiums go up, or losing their plans. The website is broken, and the government knew it was broken. There is precious little credibility in even the rosiest talking points OFA offers, and there’s no real guide to handling pushback.
OFA’s effort – in as much as it really is an effort and not just an excuse for periodic communication to keep the email list fresh – will fail because they have no idea how to talk to people who disagree with the concept of Obamacare. And that population seems to get bigger everyday – without a website full of discussion guides.
Is there a holiday that reflects America better than Thanksgiving?
It’s enjoyed best with family, but without the materialism that creeps into gift-giving holidays like Christmas. There’s no pressure to buy the right item, spend the right amount, or remember the right people. There may be some chores, like cooking and washing dishes, but those are the only obligations.
People are more giving. It’s a shame when people are hungry any day of the year, but there seems to be an inherent belief that it’s especially shameful on Thanksgiving.
Most take the day off, and we aren’t entirely comfortable with companies that expect people to work.
It recognizes religion and belief in a higher power, an appreciation that, sometimes, hard work isn’t the only factor in how successful we are. At the same time, it doesn’t recognize a specific religion. There isn’t a religion that doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving.
There are also points to be made about gluttony and consumerism, and if you’re a concussion-hawk you can grouse about football as well. I choose to focus on the positive, and hope you and your family can as well.
Turnout operations are critical in tight campaigns – and especially so in mid-term elections, campaigns can’t rely on national awareness to gin up attention to Election Day. As I noted in my most recent Washington Times Communities post, mid-term turnout modeling means than Republicans can win big with just 75% of their 2012 voters coming back.
Obviously, to create that much excitement, Republican candidates are going to have to have good messages and be disciplined about sticking to them. But with continued problems with Obamacare, the messaging environment will likely be in the GOP’s favor. And people who voted Republican in 2012 – which was an off-year – are probably much happier with their vote than their Democrat friends and neighbors.
Last week I started a column at the Washington Times Communities page called “By the Numbers” and started with a look at Ken Cuccinelli’s Virginia loss.
With just 3.1%more of Mitt Romney’s 2012 voters, Cuccinelli could have celebrated a Dewey-defeats-Truman moment. Instead, 780,000 Virginians who supported Romney’s losing effort stayed home, and Terry McAuliffe sneaked past by around 55,000 votes. POLITICO profiled McAuliffe’s advanced data-driven operation, which read like the post-game analysis of Barack Obama’s win last year. Meanwhile, Stu Rothenberg underscored Cuccinelli’s failure to bring back Romeny voters.
There were plenty of challenges thrown at Cuccinelli: a spending gap, infighting, an erroneously modeled Washington Post poll that depressed GOP turnout, and center-right outside groups staying on the sideline. Blaming these things for the loss is like a football team blaming a one-point defeat on a bad call in the first quarter rather than a botched field goal on the last play of the game. Those factors put Cuccinelli in a bad position, but he was still in a position to win.
Campaign plans are being hatched for 2014 right now, and would-be victors should look at Cuccinelli’s loss careful. Luck – good or bad – is the residue of design.
Today’s New York Times piece on Republican primary battles leads with Art Halvorson, the father of a former colleague who is running for Congress in Pennsylvania’s heavily Republican 9th District. His opponent is incumbent Rep. Bill Shuster, who holds the seat his father held before him. While much of the article falls into the oversimplified “Tea-Party-Versus-Establishment” narrative, Halvorson rejects the opportunity to bang the drum on more red meat issues, favoring a more populist tone:
“People don’t remember a time before the Shusters,” Mr. Halvorson said. “They created an aristocracy, and people are so accustomed to that’s the way politics is done around here, they don’t see how he can be toppled. I’ve got to show leadership’s what’s important, not seniority, and longevity is not leadership.” … “That’s the narrative everybody wants to know: What’s the Republican Party going to look like after Ted Cruz Tea Party people get done with it?” Mr. Halvorson asked, eschewing the Tea Party label even as he adopts many of its campaign tropes.
Tea Party themes – less government, more freedom, less concentration of power – are more popular than the Tea Party label. Candidates like Halvorson are wise to make their campaigns about ideas, rather than shorthand.