PR lessons from Ron Burgundy

As “Anchorman 2” hits theaters, you too can become a legend.

The much anticipated film “Anchorman 2” hits theaters on Wednesday, and the MediaSource crew can’t wait. As a team of trained television journalists turned PR pros, the legendary antics of Ron Burgundy captivate us all and provide endless office humor.

Something we’ve all wondered, however, is what it would be like to be Burgundy’s PR rep. Let’s face it, he’s politically incorrect, unpredictable, and dumber than a lamp (even though we all love lamp). The truth is, no matter how many leather-bound PR books we have in our arsenal, we can all learn a thing or two about PR from Ron Burgundy.

1. If it’s “kind of a big deal,” say so!

Have a strategy to tell everyone. We all have those stories that require a lot of development and focused pitching hours to get placements, but when you identify a story with truly great potential, you should maximize your opportunity. Don’t be happy with the usual placements. Push harder. Be aggressive, and make sure everyone knows that your story and your brand are kind of a big deal. It’s amazing how far a story can go when you believe in its success and broad appeal.

2. Don’t be a market snob. When North Dakota calls, over-deliver.

Sure, some placements are technically bigger than others, but Ron Burgundy knows all media placements matter. Whether it’s appearing on Letterman or on the local news in North Dakota, every media placement can make a difference. Ron Burgundy made national headlines when he anchored the news in Bismarck, N.D. In our 24-hour news cycle, with stories constantly breaking on social media, don’t undervalue any opportunity—no matter how small it may seem. You never know when one local placement can turn into PR gold.

3. Fight for your space while staying classy.

After the news teams’ big brawl, Burgundy told his guys: “I’m proud of you fellas. You all kept your head on a swivel, and that’s what you gotta do when you find yourself in a vicious cock fight.” Though we can’t endorse trying to “straight up murder” the competition, we know that having a scrappy, competitive edge will pay dividends for your clients. Don’t just think about your story.

Develop your strategy around what will be competing with you in the news cycle. This can sometimes be unpredictable. It is up to you to become a constant news funnel. Have the skills to know what will affect your story and what will not.

4. Embracing change is a scientific fact.

You can’t really win in the PR game if you are still sending out the same old news releases in the same old way. Ron Burgundy learned in his first movie that adapting to industry changes is the key to success. In marketing “Anchorman 2,” he is leading the charge and using more guerrilla-style marketing tactics to make sure everyone remembers that he is very important.

What’s more memorable: a generic movie trailer or a Dodge Durango ad complete with an equine co-star? He’s using a steady stream of fresh and attention getting tactics to ensure success. He’s maximizing earned media placements to build up his brand. He’s also dominating with owned media, such as @RonBurgundy on Twitter. On one fresh idea can go a long way-just ask Emerson College’s Ron Burgundy School of Communication.

Lisa Arledge Powell is President and co-founder of MediaSource, a media relations and content production firm that specializes in brand journalism tactics.

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Topics: PR

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