ron-burgundyAnchorman 2 was bound to be the holiday hit of the century. Quotables from the first Anchorman are now common lexicon for the American public (“Boy, that escalated quickly” and “60% of the time, it works every time” for example). Another round of Ron Burgundy and the crew was sure to delight audiences.

Not leaving anything to chance, Hollywood unleashed an innovative marketing campaign to build buzz for the movie. Groundbreaking in it’s use of media partnerships and digital channels, AdWeek said it was “unlike anything done before.” Forbes said it would “teach us about social media marketing.” The Verge, a website of cutting edge trends in marketing and technology, went so far as to say it would “change the way movies are marketed.”

The only problem? It flopped.

Well, not “flopped” per se. As of this weekend, the movie has grossed more than $160 million worldwide — hardly a small chunk of change unless you’re Obama’s Treasury secretary. But it opened at #2, behind the second week of the Hobbit sequel. According to the website Box Office Mojo, here’s how Anchorman 2 stacks up against its peers:

  • #23 movie of the last 365 days
  • #277 opening weekends
  • #102 opening weekends – holiday
  • It does rank #3 in the site’s “Showdown: ‘Fockers’ vs. ‘Anchorman'” feature… hardly a distinction

It failed to meet expectations and quite frankly, despite my having memorized the original start to finish, I have yet to go see it myself (holding out for an early 2016 release on Netflix).

So what went wrong?

The marketing tactics were in fact genius. Ron Burgundy was everywhere, even interviewing now Super Bowl-bound quarterback Peyton Manning. Burgundy commented on world events, launched numerous GIFs, and leveraged a lot of exciting new avenues in social media. It really was a very innovative marketing campaign.

The only problem? It was hype.

By all reviews, the movie is so-so. Not bad, but not great either. People didn’t leave crawling on their bellies laughing so hard they couldn’t walk. It’s just that there was nothing new under the mustache.

Every day, we are faced with a choice: invest in hype or invest in product. Sometimes you’ll have the chance to do both. You can’t ignore either. But when the hype gets too far ahead of the product, a fall is bound to happen.

Well, that about does it for this post. For all of us, you stay classy planet earth.