'Very Nice': Kazakhstan Adopts Borat's Catchphrase for Tourism Drive

Sacha Baron Cohen in a scene from

[Kairat said] that adopting Borat's catchphrase in the campaign "offers the ideal description of Kazakhstan's vast tourism potential in a short, memorable way".

Years later, however, the Kazakhstan government thanked Sacha Baron Cohen for boosting tourism in the country.

The campaign itself, however, was initially pitched to the Kazakhstan tourism board by Dennis Keen, an American who studied and eventually moved to Kazakhstan where he now appears on a travel series, the New York Times reports.

No, a Kazakhstan embassy spokesman told NPR at the time, women in the former Soviet republic were never forced to ride on the outside of buses.

As the owner of a tourism-based company during a pandemic, Keen said he had a lot of time on his hands. "As a wise man one [sic] said, 'Very nice!'".

The tourism board were persuaded to use the catchphrase by American Dennis Keen and his friend Yermek Utemissov.

"I came up with the idea October 3, and I brought it to Kazakh Tourism knowing we had a very small window to make it happen", Keen told Insider.

Once approved, the pair quickly shot four short spots featuring the slogan with a local travel video team.

"Kazakhstan's nature is very nice; its food is very nice; and its people, despite Borat's jokes to the contrary, are some of the nicest in the world".

In a tourism advertisement that those who haven't seen the "Borat" movies might not recognize as anything other than a dreamy collection of travel footage, Kazakh Tourism works the words of fictional TV journalist Borat into several snapshots of the country's travel offerings.

Cohen echoed that sentiment, telling The New York Times that "the real Kazakhstan is a attractive country with a modern, proud society - the opposite of Borat's version".

Even Kazakhstan's tourism board signaled that there is no bad blood between the two. "I chose Kazakhstan because it was a place that nearly nobody in the USA knew anything about, which allowed us to create a wild, comedic, fake world".

Officials said the 2006 film portrayed Kazakhstan as a racist, sexist and primitive country. "They've got Twitter, they've got Instagram, they've got Reddit, they know English, they know memes".

The comedian added: "The real Kazakhstan is a attractive country with a modern, proud society - the opposite of Borat's version".

The phrase is the centerpiece of a new ad campaign, punctuating videos that highlight Kazakhstan's natural beauty, architecture and culture.



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