Last weekend, comedic actor Will Ferrell scored big with his newest movie “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby”. The movie grossed $47 million its opening weekend, almost 33% more than the insiders predicted it would.
If you’re not familiar with Will Ferrell, you might never be. At best, he’s an acquired taste. But, I do enjoy his movies. More importantly though, I now have a greater respect for him as a professional who understands his business and his customers.
Ferrell has worked hard to build his persona. His shtick is the likable, goofy, not altogether bright frat-boy type who never really grew up.
But, he’s funny and he’s consistent. He brings the same energy and enthusiasm to every role he plays. And there’s the same child-like innocence at the core of all his characters.
So, you go to a Will Ferrell movie and you know what you’re going to get.
And that’s a good thing. It’s effective branding. Customers like consistency.
But with “Talladega Nights” Ferrell did something more.
Because it’s a racing movie (or to be more precise, a NASCAR movie) Ferrell started making live appearances at NASCAR events all over the country. And he did interviews in character, as Ricky Bobby, complete with the NASCAR jumpsuit. The fans ate it up.
The movie made sense for Ferrell because it delivered him to a whole new audience. And it linked him to a very popular sport with die-hard loyal fans.
But what I really liked is that Ferrell went to them. He didn’t sit in Hollywood and simply make a racing movie. He brought the movie to NASCAR fans. He became one with them.
He made it personal.
And it paid off. He’s enjoying great success that few predicted he would.
So, bravo to Will Ferrell. He’s given us a valuable lesson and he’s shown that some Hollywood types really understand what it means to connect with their customers.