Ron Burgundy has been a very busy, albeit fictional, man.
Rather than executing a traditional media tour of talk-show couches and pre-packaged video clips for Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, which hits theaters Dec. 18 premiere, Will Ferrell has quite literally let the character speak for himself. For the last few months, Ron Burgundy has been appearing as Ron Burgundy—acting as a product pitch man in commercials and doing what he does best, announcing the news.
Although some argue that Burgundy’s extreme overexposure might actually hurt the movie, everything else he touches turns to gold. (OK, some Emerson College journalism professors did think it was unprofessional to rename the school of communications after the fake broadcaster for the day, but they’re in the minority.)
On Oct. 4, Dodge put up a series of 7 —yes, 70—ads for the Dodge Durango, which have accumulated more than 15.3 million views on YouTube. October sales went up 59% from the previous year, and it didn’t stop there. According to Ad Age, November sales are still up 36% from 2012. Dodge also saw an 80% traffic jump on the site, with 100% more “lower funnel activity,” which means taking action online (liking searching for a local dealer) that implies you want to buy a car.
Burgundy, who now exists as an entity almost autonomous from Ferrell or the Anchorman series, also appeared as an announcer for the Canadian Olympic trials for curling (called “Roar of the Rings”) on TSN on Dec. 1. The network began promoting the event a week before and told TIME that ratings for the curling trials went up 38% from 2009.
“It was a win-win for everyone,” TSN and Bell Media Sports communications director Greg McIsaac said. “The content was fantastic, the curling community embraced it… Burgundy’s appearance on TSN was a trending topic on social media and made headlines across the world.”
Bismarck, North Dakota’s CBS affiliate KXMB also benefited from when Ron Burgundy decided to co-anchor the local news. Although the network is too small to regularly get Nielsen ratings, the video had more than 600,000 views on kxnet.com, not including YouTube views, which is a lot for a network that only reaches 150,000 households.
KXMB general manager Tim Reiten told TIME that “surprised” didn’t begin to describe his reaction to getting a call from Ferrell’s people saying that Burgundy wanted to co-anchor a show.
“Surprising. I would call that an understatement,” he said. “I’ve been in broadcasting for 30 years, including 16 as a reporter. This has to be the most unique experience I’ve ever had in the business.”
And these partnerships aren’t just occurring in North America. Ron Burgundy is making a huge push for Anchorman 2 overseas. The fictional character has not only made his own videos about things like Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s “banana hammock,” but he has appeared on international news programs as well, on top of numerous appearances at the European Music Awards. That’s probably due to a paltry international reception of $5.3 million in the box office for the original film.