To back his upcoming interview antics in "Bruno", Sacha Baron Cohen created 30 or more fake companies, complete with detailed artificial websites, several of which have just vanished from the internet.
The Smoking Gun has been keeping a watchful eye on Cohen, spotting four fake film production companies online. Potential interviewees were directed to these sites in support of Cohen's new filmic alter ego, a flamboyant Austrian fashion critic, Bruno, who made regular appearances on "Da Ali G Show". Today, all four of those website have been erased, but records indicate that at least 27 additional companies have been registered by the actor.
Odds are, the websites have vanished for purely legal reasons; after the litigious fallout of "Borat", "Bruno" producer Jay Roach noted that the legal ramifications of Cohen's comedy trickery are certainly given foresight. Though there's no rock solid defense in wiping the websites clean, it's always best to give your legal opponent as little as possible to work from.
In a day and age where viral strategies have become so prevalent in marketing film, it's fascinating to see similar plans put in place on the pre-production end of things. The line continues to blur as to where the film ends and the viewing experience begins.
Mostly, though, we should have little to worry about when it comes the sites' disappearances other than a sign that the film is almost upon us. "Bruno", which screened 22 minutes at Austin's SXSW Fantastic Fest, has met with nothing but rave reviews from fan and critic alike. The biggest concern right is just managing to wait for the July 10th release date.
Have you every been duped by viral marketing? Would you like to see Cohen use these 27 other companies for another film? Let us know below!