Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Countering the Borat Offensive: In recent years, there have been films about the allegedly pernicious practices of pharmaceutical companies in Africa (The Constant Gardener) and about the evil influence of the oil companies on foreign policy (Syriana), and with Leonardo di Caprio’s new film about the diamond industry (The Blood Diamond) scheduled for later this year, there’s more fun to come.

The industries under fire can all learn a lesson from Kazakhstan, the former Soviet Republic that hads suffered mightily at the hands of Sacha Baron Cohen, the British comedian whose alter ego is Borat, self-appointed Kazhak ambassador whose portrayal of the country is hilarious but not too flattering.

After the Kazakhstan government attempted to counter the Borat offensive with an advertising campaign designed to highlight its pro-western policies, economic growth, and enormous oil reserves, Borat responded by denouncing the ads as misinformation planted by agents of neighboring Uzbekistan and threatened to “commence bombardment of their cities with our catapults,” if they do not stop.

At some point, the best response is probably a sense of humor.


  • At 11:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Astana's chattering classes would doubtless agree with you; I'm sure I've read that Borat's something of a cult figure over there.

    The real shame is that the Kazakh government is not only blind to the funny side of Borat, but to the fantastic PR opportunity that Borat represents - if they're brave enough to embrace it.

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