Cannes Lions

Borat Sets New Records for Prime Video

INITIATIVE, Los Angeles / AMAZON PRIME VIDEO / 2021

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Overview

Background

It had been 14 years since Sacha Baron Cohen unleashed Borat on the world. APV had to introduce Borat to an uninitiated audience while reigniting cringe-inducing memories of his antics amongst others. It was also a pivotal time for APV, who faced fierce competition from streaming behemoths like Netflix and newer entrants HBOMax, Disney+, and Peacock. Each made a grand (expensive) entrance during the summer of 2020, touting fresh originals and iconic shows of the past – consumers never had more to choose from. To compete in this ever-intensifying landscape, APV had to assert its position in pop culture and become known for talk-worthy blockbuster by sparking a global conversation about its brand. The premiere of Borat Subsequent Moviefilm would be the vehicle for all this ambition. In short, our brief was to make it the most streamed and talked about movie of 2020.

Strategy

Our approach hinged on provocation, so we sought out a group of people who would be most open to it using YouGov data. This led us to discover our target - ‘Satirical Commentary Fans’ (SCF). They’re a group bound together more by a shared mindset than demographics. SCF are a well-educated and witty group with a razor-sharp tongue. They believe mainstream news is failing them, leading them instead to rely on unapologetic agitators such as Hasan Minaj and John Oliver, who keep things real through their withering critiques of situations. We devised a platform designed to "Unleash Global Chaos", creating the most unsafe, cringeworthy and confrontational launch campaign in streaming history. We wanted to create shocking stunts that jolted people into a social frenzy that help the film explode into the cultural consciousness, opposed to being slowly fed to audiences by an IV-drop marketing campaign over the course of months.

Execution

We zoned in on two key themes from the film – politics and the pandemic, seeking out the most controversial voices and moments we could hijack to drive relevance in culture. We trolled the Presidential Debates by becoming its official sponsor on CNN. To amplify moments from the movie, we leaked Rudy Guiliani’s ‘compromising’ position in a hotel room and surrounded its coverage on sites like The Guardian with trailers. The leak caused a Twitterstorm, propelling Borat to the front of election coverage. We made Borat an unlikely symbol for science through experiential activations that encouraged people to sanitize and “Wear Mask. Save Live.” In the UK we got uncomfortably personal, putting Borat in a Maskini on The Sun’s storied Page 3, the first time a male nude was featured. Australians got full-frontal exposure to a 20ft-tall ‘Borat in Maskini’ statue that was helicoptered onto the iconic Bondi Beach.

Outcome

We ‘Unleashed Global Chaos’ across the globe, delivering epic results for Amazon Prime Video:

- Launch Night Watch Party heaved with 1M+ fans tuning in globally to interact in a live Q&A with Sacha

- ‘Borat Ask Me Anything’ takes the Number 1 spot ahead of Bill Gates’ Reddit AMA (AdWeek)

- Borat Subsequent Moviefilm becomes the most-watched film in Prime Video’s history and second most-watched SVOD movie of 2020 in the US (Variety)

- The campaign delivered over 1B earned impressions, valued at over $12 million ($12 average CPM X 1bn)

- 140MM trailer views and trended on Twitter, YouTube and Reddit

- Even Rudy Giuliani and the former US President tweeted about the movie.

- Cultural Win: no one could deny the attention the film got during this time. Even Kazakhstan took note and adopted Borat’s catchphrase to promote tourism – a clear endorsement of its cultural significance.

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