'Bruno' Flogs

   By Robert Marich
   June 19, 2009 – R-rated movie Bruno has a fun MySpace promotion on a satellite website, in which the flamboyant character portrayed by actor Sacha Baron Cohen creates a MySpace-like environment in his faux Austrian/American mold.
   “Vassup!” goes some text on the website. “Villkomen zum das Meinspace page von Bruno!! Bruno don’t like talking abaus meinself…Alzo, ich bein a normal guy und I’m not impressed mit things like zelebrity.”
   The Bruno movie, which Universal Pictures is set to premiere July 10, presents Cohen as the eponymous lead character, who is an over-reaching Austrian TV reporter. Cohen is best known for 2006 blockbuster Borat, which likewise is a reality-scripted farce comedy. seems to be an elaborate splash page designed to get visitors to view the film’s trailer. A lot of the links pull up ordinary MySpace pages, which is kind of a bore. The cumbersome structure of the separate MeinSpace website may be motivated by a desire to keep under age 17 users away from the restricted audience film. Meanwhile, the R-rated trailer requires a sign-in requiring age 17 (I shaved two years off my real age and still had plenty of cushion!)
  Notes an Advertising Age article, “The deal is said to include an integration in the film and a media buy on MySpace, including a home-page takeover where Mr. Cohen, as Bruno, pulls back the page to reveal his own version of MySpace in his faux Teutonic lingo…. Mr. Cohen, as a rule, doesn't put products in his films and is said to have put the brakes on aspects of the deal. But he is also an avid user of social media, and the idea that Bruno would be totally into MySpace -- or ‘mine-sposh,’ as he pronounces it -- is organic to the character.”
   “In addition to his 330,000-odd ‘freunds’ on MySpace, Bruno has 31,500 ‘friends’ on Facebook (‘Facebuch’ in Bruno parlance), and more than 14,000 followers on ‘Tvitter,’ where his handle is @brunovassup, all enjoying regular updates: ‘check aus mein trailer!’” notes the Ad Age article by Michael Learmonth.
   Some gay activists have ripped Bruno for allegedly re-inforcing stereotypes, but Cohen doesn’t seem to backing down. Indeed, how can he without undermining the movie so the show goes on.
  The promotion makes for some strange bedfellows (a concept that Bruno might like!). MySpace is owned by News Corp., whose 20th Century Fox is distributed Borat, but withdrew from bidding in an auction for the follow up Bruno, which Universal Pictures eventually won.
   So a 20th Century Fox affiliate (MySpace) is now promoting a Universal release. In today’s topsy turvey media world, such cross-corporate relationships are the norm since no media platform can thrive without reaching beyond in-house alliances. Indeed, MySpace has foundered recently -- as FaceBook gained traction on the Internet -- so getting Bruno's attention is a coup.
   Personally, I didn't like Borat -- I found the humor cruel -- and probably won't like Bruno. But I do like this promotion, which is bouncy and fun.
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