Nifty compare ‘n’ contrast in the Boston dailies today: their coverage of Emerson College’s renaming its communication school the Ron Burgundy School of Communication.

Boston Herald:

Selling ‘Anchorman 2’

Bold campaign could start new trend


Will Ferrell’s visit to Emerson College as TV newsman Ron Burgundy — the latest in his tour of quirky in-character appearances to sell the “Anchorman” sequel — is a “brilliant” marketing strategy, industry insiders say, that could set a new standard for movie promotion if it pays off at the box office.

“It is quite an amazing campaign,” said John Verret, a Boston College advertising professor and former ad executive.


(Not to get technical about it, but John Verret teaches at Boston University  – not BC. Ron himself couldn’t have done it better.)

“If there are people in the movie business who thought they could pull it off and this does work, then I think you are going to see lots of attempts to do it,” Verret added.

Now, the hardtracking staff yields to no man in its admiration and respect for our BU colleague John Verret, but that stunt at Emerson inevitably leads to the question, “Is there anything that’s not for sale?” Certainly the evening news is at Bismarck, N.D. station KXMB: The CBS affiliate actually installed Ferrell/Burgundy as co-anchor of the newscast.



Back in Boston, the Herald piece dismisses the tsk-tskers.

Some have criticized Emerson’s participation in the PR stunt as inappropriate, a notion both the school and Gerzof Richard rejected.

“I think it communicates the college’s sense of humor,” Emerson spokeswoman Carole McFall said.


The Boston Globe, on the other hand, headlined the tut-tutniks.

Some object as Ron Burgundy brings laughs to Emerson


Whatever the publicity budget is for “Anchorman 2,” it’s enough.

The hype machine that is Will Ferrell’s new movie descended upon Emerson College Wednesday as the school renamed its college of communication — for one day — in honor of the film’s fictional news anchor, Ron Burgundy. Not everyone was laughing, however, as some thought there was little benefit to the school by shilling for a big-budget Hollywood movie.


Some of those critics, not surprisingly, came from the journalism faculty.

Call them fuddy-duddies, but critics questioned whether the school’s name should be used to promote a movie that is already the subject of an intense ad campaign.

“I was opposed to it from the start,” said Mark Leccese , an assistant professor of journalism. “I don’t see what the college gets out of it, other than having its name in the media for a day. I don’t see this Hollywood publicity stunt [enhancing] the reputation of Emerson’s School of Communication.” (An Emerson official told us the school, in fact, got nothing in return — at least financially.)


Journalism professor Emmanuel Paraschos added, “My college roommate called me and said, ‘What are you people smoking?’?”

Anything Ron Burgundy sells them, apparently.

John R. Carroll is media analyst for NPR's Here & Now and senior news analyst for WBUR in Boston. He also writes at Campaign Outsider and It's Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town.
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