Friday, January 12, 2007

What Borat Can Teach You About Marketing!

Although the Borat phenom has died down, at least until the DVD comes out, I have found the movie to be an interesting conversation starter. Over the Christmas holidays, I had the pleasure of talking with a marketing person whose blog I’d love to link to but can’t because it’s private.

She had seen Borat. But unlike most people she hated it. Like me, she spent a long time overseas and saw it differently than most people.

And that got me thinking. I put on my marketing hat, and despite all the social commentary (AKA crap) I’ve heard about Borat, I gleaned a couple of good marketing lessons from the movie. And it has a lot to do with “American” attitudes the movie exposed.

#1: Americans are way too nice.

Let me put it more bluntly—we’re so damned afraid to offend anybody that we’ll agree with almost anything--even a bunch of racist garbage spouted by a fictional Kazak reporter.

What does this have to do with marketing?

I’m afraid it has everything to do with marketing. How many ads do you see there that are so bland because they don’t want to offend someone. And the result is no one buys.

Look, if you are marketing, you are only marketing to a certain group of people. You should be offending someone. for example, when I market, I seek to create ads that gets a response. In other words, it gets people emotional.

And emotion=sales. Who gives a damn if someone who will never buy your product anyway was offended? Do not be afraid to offend people.

I think the people in the movie were just too damned afraid of offending Borat that they just nodded their heads and agreed with him. Too bad. That’s why they looked like idiot in a lot of the scenes.

#2 Americans would rather make money suing people than marketing

The aftermath of the movie had the laughing more than the movie itself. What the hell is that etiquette lady doing suing Borat? Here’s some advice for her. WAKE UP!!!! You just got yourself a WHOLE bunch of publicity!!!

In your marketing materials, you put a big ol’ sticker on it that says, “As featured in American’s #1 Movie Borat”. Hell, you even put brand yourself as “Borat’s personal etiquette coach". Then tell a story on how "Borat" is still a work in progress.

But I guess losing a lawsuit looks like a more wining proposition to her.

Oh well…as an aside Sacha Baron Cohen (who played Borat) is a friggin’ genius. Sacha, if you’re listening, count me in for Borat 2…oh, and my 3-year-old daughter loved you in Madagascar!

To your Continuing Success,

Carlon Haas

P.S. Look for some big changes to my web site in the coming weeks. And I’ll have some FREE stuff for my blog readers. So, stay tuned.

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