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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Public Relations, no one does it better than SBC

The month of may by far has not been the best of months for cinema goers with only a few major film releases hitting cinema across the United Kingdom and the rest of the world. Usually most big banner or major up and coming block busters are held back for the summer months so as to take into account the summer holiday season, when people take their annual leave from work, and the young people attending school, college or university have time off.



One of these movies that hit our cinema screens this month of May was the eagerly anticipated 'Avengers Assemble', which brought together some of the iconic super hero's of Marvel comics including the likes of Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America and Thor, with an equally formidable star cast. However another eagerly awaited movie to come out this early summer was British actor Sacha Baron Cohen's latest venture 'The Dictator'. By now this legendary Cambridge educated actor is a house hold name among English Language cinema goers, for those still unfamiliar with him, he was the genius behind the rather controversial and mildly difficult to watch  films such as 'Borat', 'Bruno' and 'Ali G'.




I was fortunate enough to be in the British Capital when this movie hit cinema screens and be able to have the opportunity to watch it in the cinema on the day the movie was released to public a few days following its premier red carpet event in Central London. That event was not your conventional red carpet event either, Sacha Baron Cohen managed to give it the touch he has become very popularly known for, keeping in line with the theme and the characters of his latest venture. His latest venture 'The Dictator'. The plot of this comedy film revolves around the character of Admiral General Aladeen, who is the supreme leader of a fictional oil rich country in North Africa by the name of Wadiya and is seen as tyrant dictator by the West. Well the real story happens after the character arrives in New York City to deliver a speech at the United Nations on the demands of the Western leaders.



The plot of the movie aside, the cultural stereotyping aside, the political and social themes aside, even the subliminal messages of the film aside, one can certainly no one does public relations than Sacha Baron Cohen, the man himself. When ever he develops a fictional character for himself as he previously developed Borat, Bruno and Ali G, he takes his character(s) which he himself also portrays to the next level. SBC not only lives his character in the movie itself, but also lives in the character off the silver screen. In the case of 'The Dictator' he has managed to do exactly that by showing up dressed as Admiral General Aladeen not only for the Red Carpet premiers of the movie in major cities across the globe, but has stayed in character as Admiral General Aladeen for interviews he has given to well known television channels and talk show hosts such as John Stewart. In those interviews on television, he has appeared not only dressed up as Aladeen, but has been in full character as Aladeen himself, almost kind off serving as a continuation of the movie story or an extension of the story line. This gives the audience a feel of how real the character is, when they get to experience the character on the screen beyond the film, and out and about in major cities like London and New York in the disguise of his character.

This makes for an excellent public relations exercise, as it gives Sacha Baron Cohen the opportunity to personally interact and engage with his audience, while at the same time adding an element of innovation and creativity in his approach. This also provides SBC with a platform and an opportunity to communicate his social, political, economic and cultural views to the wider audiences in the disguise of his character, and since the characters he plays such as Admiral General Aladeen are fictional in nature, even though some of his humour might be marginally offensive in nature for so many people, it is taken in good humour. These measures contribute a great deal to the brand equity of SBC as an actor and displays his genius talents before the world. This unique and innovative approach to public relations is indeed remarkable and note worthy, and can be a source of inspiration for innovative thinking for others, not just in the field of showbiz and television, but also in media, academia and the corporate world. For now, some of these interviews can be caught up with on Youtube, my favourite one is as follows:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2oOI74bewY

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