Alister Cameron // Blogologist

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Borat goes totally viral at

Someone actually paid (Australia’s largest real estate listings website) real money to put this ad up! It suggests Borat has moved to Australia and is looking for a female roommate… err cow-milker… err sex slave… actually, it’s anyone’s guess what he wants to do with her.

Here’s a preview of the page (click it to visit the actually page):


I was alerted to this a couple of hours ago when my sister-in-law emailed me a simple email that read:

Borat in Brisvegas!

Check this out – before the administrators at get word of it!!!!!!

Now, that’s very “viral” text, right there. I don’t think my sister-in-law made it up… I assume she just forwarded it like everyone else. But look at the doozie of a hook: “before the administrators at get word of it”. That’s great copy 🙂

I emailed an acquaintance at who forwarded an item of internal mail from today, that said in part:

It seems Borat is on his way to fame on REA.

You’ll see from the stats below that show the daily visits to the Borat Share ad that it’s really spiked in the last 2 days.

Yesterday the ad had over 17,000 visits. Today (as at lunchtime) it’s already had over 30,000.

Total visits is now up to 65,000. A fabulous example of a viral campaign.

(I bet this has the crew at REA wondering how they can do something like this themselves next time!)

The internally circulated email included this chart, which shows dramatically how the “virus” hit its tipping point yesterday:


Who knows how far this will go! Who knows when it will die out. I hope the advertiser keeps paying for his ad as long as the traffic comes in.

But a question…

Who is behind this ad and why? Is it just someone having fun? It probably is.

I guess as a marketer I find it strange that there is no clear link from the share ad on to something else… it seems like a huge missed opportunity.

If, hypothetically the DVD distributor is behind this, and it’s designed to revive interest in the movie in time for a DVD release, then things are getting hot in the frying-pan a little too soon; the DVD doesn’t hit the video store shelves in Australia until mid-March.

So for now, this remains just an example of how a very simply worded email with a killer hook in it (the old “hurry before it’s gone” hook combined with the “before the fun-police find out” hook) can drive masses of traffic (unqualified, of course) to your website.

What are your favourite examples of viral emails? Which ones actually had a for-real commercial entity behind them, and were actually trying to sell something?, australia, borat, viral marketing, viral email, tipping point, virus, email marketing, online marketing


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  1. Posted 12 years, 4 months ago // Permalink

    That’s classic – hope their server holds up. Obviously they are aware and happy to have the traffic – are you so sure RE didn’t plant it?

  2. Matt
    Posted 12 years, 4 months ago // Permalink doesn’t take ads from the general public, only real estate agents, so an inside job seems more likely.

  3. Posted 12 years, 4 months ago // Permalink

    Matt, its a share ad though, so anyone can place one of those ads (its the ‘buy’ and ‘sell’ areas that only agents can use)

  4. Erin
    Posted 12 years, 4 months ago // Permalink

    Actually Matt, share ads are posted by general public

  5. Posted 12 years, 4 months ago // Permalink

    Hi Cameron,
    Saw your blog and noticed our internal email made its way onto your site. Just to verify some facts for you and correct Matt’s comment – we do take private advertisements from consumers, but only those looking for share accommodation. We don’t take ads from consumers looking to rent or sell their properties – these can only be submitted via our subscribing real estate agents. Also we can confirm this is a genuine advertisement posted by a consumer, who is no doubt enjoying the attention. It was not created by marketing (we wish) but we’re enjoying the exposure.
    Yours sincerely

  6. Alister Cameron
    Posted 12 years, 4 months ago // Permalink


    Thanks for confirming these details for us.

    I was never in any doubt that it was legit and not an REA made-up thing… and I can image your staff sitting back and having a good laugh about it!

    And hints on the intentions of the advertiser?!?!

    – Alister

  7. Posted 12 years, 4 months ago // Permalink

    Why you find my ad curious?

  8. Alister Cameron
    Posted 12 years, 4 months ago // Permalink

    Ha! Wondered how long it would take you to drop by, Borat!

    You should know that I have worked hard to make this ad of your known far and wide. There is this post, and also a stack of emails I sent off the media all over Australia.

    I sent it late on Friday, which is no good for the press people, but I did try 🙂

    Have you found someone yet?

    Posted 10 years, 7 months ago // Permalink


3 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [IMG] Borat goes totally viral at 22 minutes ago by alicam at Alister Cameron, Blog Consultant Someone actually paid (Australia’s largest real estate listings website) real money to put this ad up! It suggests Borat has moved to Australia…

  2. highlighting the strength of viral marketing in Australia

  3. […] February 2nd, 2007 · 1 Comment […]

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