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Anchorman’s Ron Burgundy Gets a Signature Spirit

scotchRon Burgundy, the mustachioed, Scotch-swilling, jazz-flute-playing
1970s newsman played by Will Ferrell in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron
Burgundy, is making the rounds to promote the Dec. 18 release of
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. Beyond getting the chance to enjoy
Burgundy witticisms in ads for the Dodge Durango and in guest
appearances on ESPN, Anchorman fans also can “stay classy” by drinking Great Odin’s Raven, a Burgundy-themed Scotch made by New York-based wine and spirits marketer and importer Riviera Imports.

“Ron Burgundy had such an unbelievable following that we thought it  might not only be fun, but really successful,” says Ed Caan, CEO of  Riviera Imports. “I wanted to create a real whiskey that would satisfy  the needs of Paramount [the movie's studio], but also make a product that will have some longevity as opposed to being a collectible. It had to have all of the trappings of legitimate whiskey. It had to be high-quality. We wanted to reach the millions of Ron Burgundy disciples out there and get them to actually taste it and like it and become a [fan of the] whiskey, even if they weren’t Scotch drinkers to start with.

Six thousand cases of the Scotch have been sold since its launch on Nov. 25, according to Caan, and it was served along with Ben & Jerry’s Burgundy-themed ice cream flavor, Scotchy Scotch Scotch, at the movie’s premiere on Dec. 15. The Scotch currently is available in 20 markets in the United States and will be available nationally by February.

“Anybody under the age of 50 knows who Ron Burgundy is. The movie has such a cult following. This thing went viral, and the demand has been insane,” Caan says. “We’ve had 300 million media impressions, about 10 or 20 million a day, and we’re getting calls from a lot of retailers and distributors across the country. Early indications are that it probably will be our most popular product.” 

For more on Ben & Jerry’s Scotchy Scotch Scotch, check out the Dec. 19 edition of Marketing News Exclusives.

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Brand Winners and Losers for 2013

The list was compiled by John Tantillo, who markets his services as “The Marketing Doctor” and is the author of People Buy Brands Not Companies. Tantillo is a contributor to Fox News and Fox Business Network and hosts a weekly radio show, Brand Talk’s Go Brand Yourself!, on WVOX 1460 AM. E-mail him at

No company, service nor individual will ever be all things to all people. What matters is that the company or individual is the right things to the right people. With this in mind, here are 2013′s brand winners and losers:

2013 Brand Winners:

Pope Francis
Hope that referring to Pope Francis as a “rock star” will not offend anyone, but he really is a religious rock star! How can one dislike a dignitary who is humble and eschews opulence? In a recent local TV story in New York, it was reported that among high school students on New York’s Long Island, church attendance was up and students wanted to know more about the pope. This is a great step. Branding and marketing is all about satisfying needs, and Pope Francis is now the Catholic church’s new CMO, chief marketing officer. What a wonderful brand to have at this time!

US Air/American Airlines
The merger of these two great brands has created the largest airline in the world. US Air will become the New American Airlines and will then have to drop “new” in order to adhere to FTC guidelines.

American Airlines has been a brand since 1930 and has many brand loyalists, while US Air, which changed its name from Allegany Airlines in 1979, will defer to the older, more established brand name, which is a very good thing. Some may question whether this merger will be good for American Airlines and US Air customers. It could very well be a split decision, where American Airlines customers feel that brand services are diminished while US Air clients may perceive that service is enhanced. Whatever side one is on, we will have to wait for the results. Let us hope that the New American keeps their new and old customers in mind.

You know when your brand has heft when one of the richest men in the world decides to become a partner in a $23 billion deal. Warren Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway Inc. decided to own half of H.J. Heinz Co. and supply cash to help fund the acquisition by 3G Capital. 3G Capital, an investment firm with offices in Rio de Janeiro and New York City, will control operations at the food brand.

Even though in October of this year Heinz Ketchup was dropped from McDonald’s as the condiment of choice, good things are ahead for this venerable brand if silly corporate missteps are avoided in the future. This can be accomplished by having the branding and marketing team stay strong and continue its commitment to satisfying the needs of their customers. Let’s see what the future holds for this robust brand.
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Font Failure: Pepsi Makes Marketing Blunder in Hong Kong

pepsiDesign, color and typeface used in marketing materials all can have an impact on a brand’s reputation, as Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo. Inc. learned with a recent print ad in Hong Kong. To promote its collaboration with Japanese clothing company A Bathing Ape’s line, AAPE, the soda giant created an ad with the slogan “Pepsi x AAPE.” However, the font used in the ad (see photo at left) led some to believe that the ad read, “Pepsi x RAPE.”

In an e-mail to the Huffington Post, a Pepsi spokesperson apologized for the ad, saying, “We regret any misunderstanding caused by the font used and we apologize to anyone who was offended. We will not use this design in the future.”

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Pumpkin-Flavored Whiskey Adds to Pumpkin Product Craze

pumpkinFall has arrived, and marketers and brands are thus once again tapping into consumers’ cravings for pumpkin-flavored products. South Kingstown, R.I.-based Sons of Liberty Spirits Co. is capitalizing on the trend that created pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin M&Ms and pumpkin beer with a pumpkin-flavored product of its own: pumpkin spice whiskey. The whiskey, available in Rhode Island and Massachusetts this fall, is infused with pumpkins as well as clove, allspice, vanilla and sweet orange.

Beyond the seasonal pumpkin craze, flavor trends for alcohol in general are booming. Flavor innovation boosted sales in the spirits industry in 2011 and 2012, and will continue to do so in 2013, according to food industry research firm Technomic Inc. In 2011, Jack Daniel’s jumped into the flavor fray with the launch of its honey-infused whiskey, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey. In a recent interview with Marketing News, Casey Nelson, senior brand manager for the Jack Daniel’s flavor portfolio at Brown-Forman Corp., said: “We’ve got gummy-bear-flavored vodka and everything else. The consumer has seen it all. … The continued evolution is trying to get people to try the next greatest thing.”


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Lenovo, World’s Largest PC Maker, Becomes Mobile-First Company

Research giants Gartner and IDC recently announced that Beijing-based Lenovo Group has surpassed Hewlett-Packard in global PC sales after standing at the No. 2 spot for years. But last week, the plot thickened: Lenovo now sells more mobile devices—tablets and smartphones—than PCs, according to the company’s FY 2013/2014 Q1 earnings report. Lenovo reported $8.8 billion in revenue and $174 million in profit, a year-over-year growth rate of 10% and 23%, respectively, beating its own revenue record and exceeding analysts’ predictions.lenovo logo

As it grows year over year at a rapid clip, Lenovo is differentiating itself from its largest PC competitor, Hewlett-Packard, by marketing a connected suite of devices. Since Lenovo’s smartphones have yet to hit most major Western markets, most smartphones sales have come from the company’s native China, where it makes about 42% of its total sales. The report made clear that Lenovo now thinks of itself as a “PC Plus” brand, the plus meaning smart-connected devices. “While driving profitable growth in our core PC business, we are rapidly transforming our company into a PC Plus company,” Yang Yuanqing, chairman and CEO of Lenovo, said in the report. “The PC Plus market requires fast, efficient innovation as it moves quickly from premium products to mainstream ones and from mature market domination to emerging market hyper growth.”


For more on Lenovo’s global marketing plan, check out “Rebooting the Brand.” 

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