I love a bit of pop culture branding. I love what pop culture says about brands, and more importantly, the way that PEOPLE engage with brands. I guess this is why blogging and the Web 2.0 intersection interests me, because Web 2.0 is about DOING things with brands. It is about bringing brands to life in ways that show the playful side of life.

CK has a great post on Borat — one of the funniest creations of the inimitable Sacha Baron Cohen (ok let’s face it, who WANTS to imitate him) — and the way that the character has single-handedly raised the awareness of Khazakstan as a country. It is interesting example, because, undoubtedly, there is something distasteful in the Borat character (understatement) … but to have Borat making the agenda for Khazakstan’s President Nazarbayev’s upcoming meeting with President George W Bush shows the power of comedy. And in a way, it shows how to engage an audience.

And while I don’t know that you would want to "take one for the team" — especially Borat style … there is a real opportunity to build on the awareness that Borat has built. In building an audience, the challenge in moving from "awareness" to "postive perception" is about getting your story across. There is a supreme opportunity for Khazakstan to EMBRACE the Borat character … I am seeing a whole series of "come and meet my family" advertisements ("meet my sister …", "my cousin loves your country, listen to him sing your song of country", "this is my cow …"). Is that going to resonate with an audience? Is it going to build buzz? Absolutely … and it would be fun!

Just don’t let Borat feature in an ad for beachwear (see CK’s article and you will know what I mean!)