For one day, Emerson College renamed its communications school the Ron Burgundy School of Communication, in honor of the fictional TV broadcaster played by comedian Will Ferrell. Sporting his signature 70s three-piece polyester suit and thick mustache, Ferrell visited the school for a tongue-in-cheek press conference, renaming ceremony and an exclusive screening of the film, Anchorman 2.
“I first heard about ‘Ron Burgundy’ coming to Emerson on Facebook,” said Holly Dean, Manager of the Barnes & Noble at Emerson College bookstore. “When Emerson students began posting that Will Ferrell was coming to our school, it gave me the idea to promote the event in our bookstore.”
Dean began reaching out to her vendors to prepare for the day. “Our publishing rep placed an order for copies of Will Ferrell’s new book, Let Me Off At The Top: My Classy Life and Other Musings, and I worked with an apparel rep to create a t-shirt to mark the occasion,” she said. “I knew that it would be a popular item, but I had no idea just how popular it would be.”
Dean’s initial order of 70 t-shirts flew off the shelves, selling out immediately. The Emerson purple tee with ‘Ron Burgundy School of Communication’ on the front and ‘You Stay Classy, Emerson’ on the back, was a huge hit with students, alumni and fans of San Diego’s favorite news anchor. “It was pretty crazy here that day,” recalled Dean. “There were news trucks, cameramen and reporters everywhere. I had a cameraman beg me to sell him one of our last t-shirts. I was down to my last two, so I sold him one from the window display.”
After extensive media coverage, more orders flooded the Emerson store. “I’ve reordered three times,” said Dean. “I have over 300 orders so far from fans all over the country. I think a lot of the alumni want to give them as Christmas gifts.”
Emerson College was just one stop on a nationwide tour promoting Anchorman 2. ‘Burgundy’ has had a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream named in his honor (Scotchy, Scotch, Scotch), guest hosted a North Dakota newscast, appeared in a cross-promotional car advertising campaign with Dodge, and interviewed Payton Manning for ESPN. “It was a lot of fun to have Will Ferrell here on campus,” said Dean. “It shows we don’t always have to take ourselves so seriously and it brought positive national attention to what a great school Emerson is.”