Borat makes Amazon debut, and a Quibi postmortem: Friday Wake-Up Call
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Agent provocateur Sacha Baron Cohen is back with a sequel to “Borat” premiering on Amazon today. This time, the fish-out-of-water story, starring the fake Kazakh journalist, is going direct to streaming.
Since movie theaters are mostly shut down, anyway, Amazon Prime subscribers will get to view the antics, which already are causing a stir. Marketing for “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” has been almost as wild as the movie itself. (Not quite, there have been leaked scenes that claim to show President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani in a compromising position.) But the marketing is big.
A giant inflatable Borat has been seen sailing down the River Thames in London and at the Toronto waterfront, Forbes writes. The Amazon tie-in also opened new opportunities for marketing: Baron Cohen streamed a screening of the movie on Twitch, owned by Amazon, with gamer DrLupo, earlier this week.
Dressed as Borat, Baron Cohen, also hung out with popular YouTuber David Dobrik. Anything to build buzz.
So far, the reviews are mixed, though, for the actual movie, according to a round up from the BBC.
On Thursday, a longtime colleague of Stan Richards came to the defense of the man who fell far from grace in the ad world. Diane Fannon, a former principal of The Richards Group, was on the now-infamous client call that precipitated Richards’ downfall. “I won’t spend any time defending what he said, because what he said is indefensible, but I will spend time defending who he is,” Fannon writes in an opinion piece for Ad Age.
Richards, 87, tarnished what had been an admirable legacy atop The Richards Group. Earlier this month, he was heard using racist language to criticize an ad pitch for a client. He called a proposed ad treatment, “too Black.”
Richards resigned and apologized, and will now try to pick up the pieces. Fannon is hoping people can see the person behind the words: “What Stan said wasn’t right. But it isn’t who Stan is. He is a brilliant, gracious, thoughtful egalitarian to a fault. Isn’t that how you’d rather be judged?”
A new Joe Biden ad is pulling on all the heartstrings, and it features the deep-voiced narration of Sam Elliott. The actor is famous for his turn as the cowboy in “The Big Lebowski” and his line, “The Dude, abides.”
The spot “underscored by a simple piano rendition of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’ strikes an old-school, patriotic, uplifting tone. It’s expected to run across four days of the World Series,” writes Ad Age’s media guy Simon Dumenco.
Thursday night was the final presidential debate, and the campaign is coming into the homestretch.
In a sign of just how crowded campaign advertising season is becoming, YouTube reported that demand is so high to place political messages, it was running out of space.
Quibi investors were just absorbing the news that their big bet on the experimental streaming service was really over on Thursday. The company, started by Hollywood impresario Jeffrey Katzenberg, had a spectacular flameout after just seven months in the market, which it tried to revolutionize with mobile-only shows that run for less than 10 minutes apiece.
Business Insider talked to one investor who bought into the hype. Anis Uzzaman, the CEO and general partner of Pegasus Tech Ventures, told Business Insider: "I would've wanted them fight more rather than giving up so quickly. Or if they were going to give up so quickly than I would've wanted to give up with more money in the bank."
Advertisers and investors are hoping to recoup at least some of the money they put into the startup that raised $1.8 billion.
Facebook’s new oversight board is starting to take its first steps. The 40-person review board that will make content rulings was newly constituted on Thursday. The board will not be fully operational to make an impact on the Nov. 3 presidential election, since it has limited decision-making powers.
Facebook has been criticized for moving too slowly to establish the independent body that could make crucial rulings on what content should be allowed on the service. People are concerned about election disinformation, hate speech and extremism. “Users won’t be able to flag third-party content that Facebook has decided to leave on the platform, at least not yet. Columbia Law professor Jamal Greene, a board co-chair, said this functionality will be added ‘in the coming months,” The Verge reported.
Moderating content is a sticky subject, though. On Thursday, CNBC reported that Senate Republicans voted to subpoena Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to explain moderation decisions that hampered the Trump campaign’s mud-slinging operation against rival Joe Biden.
WhatsApp update: Facebook is making moves to monetize WhatsApp, according to TechCrunch. Facebook has begun to implement features that will cost money for companies using WhatsApp Business, which can be a conduit for commerce on the messaging app.
Coca-Cola rebound: The soft-drink maker reported its third-quarter results on Thursday, showing a bounce back from the second quarter. Sales were still down 4 percent year over year, but that was better than the 16 percent drop in the second quarter, reports Bloomberg.
Apple express: The iPhone-maker has a new retail plan for the age of COVID-19, reports Reuters. Apple is developing “express” stores, which are well-protected kiosks for quick pick-up service, to help it get through the holiday season.