Call it the Ron Burgundy effect for Chrysler!

The Ron Burgundy effect drives Durango sales

Ron Burgundy's job moonlighting as a Chrysler pitchman is paying off.

The fictional anchorman's campaign for the Dodge Durango has boosted sales of the SUV at AutoNation by 35 percent, said Mike Jackson, chairman and CEO at the auto dealer company.

"It is interesting to see where a marketing campaign can take what is really an outstanding vehicle that wasn't selling well, and send it into the stratosphere," Jackson told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Wednesday.

Ron Burgundy's Dodge Durango advertisement.
Source: YouTube

The first commercials from ad agency Wieden+Kennedy featuring Will Ferrell as the lovable but clueless Burgundy were released in early October. The movie character tie-in comes as "Anchorman: The Legend Continues" gets set to make its U.S. debut in two weeks.

(Watch the Burgundy ads for the Durango on the Dodge YouTube channel)

"Nothing else changed really other than this outstanding campaign," Jackson said. "Chrysler dreams up this Ron Burgundy campaign, and all of a sudden the Durango is 'the vehicle' to have."

"We have stores that are up as much as 50 percent. I think we're up overall something like 35 percent on the Durango," Jackson said.

By CNBC's Matthew J. Belvedere. Follow him on Twitter @Matt_SquawkCNBC.