From being banned in 2006, to becoming the face of an entire nation in 2020, the Kazakhstan tourism board has made a complete 180 in embracing the famous catchphrase of its most recognised fictional journalist, Borat. Very Nice!
Back in 2004 when Sacha Baron Cohen took his beloved Borat character to the big screen, very few people knew who or what he was. Sure, the keen-eyed folk would have seen him portray Ali G on Late Night with Conan O’Brien or the Jimmy Kimmel Show, but when Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan debuted in cinemas, no one could have expected the international fallout.
Fast forward nearly two decades later and the same authorities that threatened to sue creator Sacha Baron Cohen have just updated the country’s advertising campaign in celebration of Borat Subsequent Moviefilm which released worldwide on Amazon Prime Video on 23 October. Looking to improve tourism when “spending is on hold” the move could see a third sequel end up being filmed in Kazakstan according to the deputy chairman of the tourism board, Kairat Sadvakassov. Though that was said prior to its premiere…
Attempting to the delivery of prodigious bribe to American regime for make benefit once glorious nation of Kazakhstan, the Country’s tourism board has released a number of short advertisements, highlighting the lush scenery and deep culture, alongside people using Borat’s famous (or infamous) catchphrase “very nice.”
Persuaded by American Dennis Keen and his friend Yermek Utemissov to use the catchphrase, the idea was pitched to Kazakhstan, suggesting that pre-Borat “people didn’t know where” the country even was. “In Kazakhstan, there’s pre-Borat and post-Borat.”
According to the New York Times, Mr. Sadvakassov, initially wanted to let the sequel “die its natural death and not respond,” before Keen suggested embracing the Borat character’s catchphrase and repurpose it for the nation’s tourism slogan: “Kazakhstan. Very nice!”
Working pro-bono, the pair made four, internet-friendly 12-second spots featuring people walking around Kazakhstan, making observations that the country is in fact, “very nice.” Unconcerned about the backlash that riled up the country in 2006, Mr. Utemissov quashed fears suggesting the “newer generation” with social media will “get it.”
“They’re inside the media world. We’re looking at the same comedians, the same Kimmel show. Kazakhstan is globalised.”
Upon learning about this fortuitous change of direction by the Kazakhstan tourism board, Cohen wrote in an email, “This is a comedy, and the Kazakhstan in the film has nothing to do with the real country,” he said. Choosing Kazakhstan because “almost nobody in the U.S. knew” allowed him “to create a wild, comedic, fake world. The real Kazakhstan is a beautiful country with a modern, proud society — the opposite of Borat’s version.”
Or as Borat likes to say: very nice!