When you're going through difficult times, perhaps it's wise to reach for a gay foreigner in a mesh T-shirt.
This, at least, seems to be the strategy for MySpace.
The company has divested itself of a considerable number of employees in the past week and is, perhaps, hoping that Sacha Baron Cohen and his extremely tight hot pants will sprinkle a little glitter where the sun has not shone for a while.
"Bruno: Delicious Journeys Through America for the Purpose of Making Heterosexual Males Visibly Uncomfortable in the Presence of a Gay Foreigner in a Mesh T-Shirt"--the "fake working title" Cohen gave his latest movie--represents a considerable investment on the part of MySpace.
MySpace will feature prominently in the movie, according to a report in AdAge. Indeed, the "Bruno" trailer was launched on the site, and the hilarious meinspace.com/bruno has brought a new dimension to social-networking profiles.
While it is delightful to learn from MeinSpace that Bruno is currently looking for "a guy whose skin colour is between butterscotch und camel," you begin to wonder whether Cohen's snigger is hissing happily in MySpace's direction.
The beauty of Cohen's characters is that they are wonderfully forthright and, well, jerks. You laugh at them and with them. Through them, you're laughing at how baldly stupid so many things in life (and so many people) are.
"Borat" was the most vivid incarnation of the Cohen method. But, as "Bruno's" publicity itself declares: "Borat was so 2006." Cohen also did a deal with MySpace when "Borat" was launched. There were special advance screenings, for example, that were open only to MySpacers.
However, it's hard to see that MySpace's image has done anything other than slide like the Kazhak economy over the last three years.
Of course, one movie isn't going to reverse strategic missteps and Facebook's tolerant, cheery coffee bar of friendship.
I can't help wondering, though, whether "Bruno's" embrace of MySpace might leave you with the notion that of course Bruno would be on MySpace. After all, he's ein person you wouldn't exactly want at your first-born's christening.
Cohen, you might think, has the upper hand in the relationship with MySpace. The deal certainly hasn't excluded the current darlings of social networking. On MeinSpace, you can still link to "Bruno's" Facebook page. Indeed, he somehow managed to nab facebook.com/bruno in the recent vanity raffle.
MeinSpace also lets you link to Bruno's Twitter feed, the fabulous Twitter.com/brunovassup. Here's just one Bruno tweet: "Just back from uncle's funeral - had fight mit egomaniac priest - apparently it's rude to ask for ze church wi-fi password during a service."
Bruno's social-networking numbers to date are very interesting. While on MeinSpace he has more than 330,000 freunds, he has only 53,768 on Facebook and 18,515 on Twitter. Might that trend change as he gears up toward the July 10 launch? I suspect not.
One can hardly wait to see how Cohen has inserted MySpace into his opus. However, as always with his movies, whom will the joke be on?
Do you think better of Eminem after Bruno welcomed him at the MTV Movie awards with his bottom?
In fact, don't Eminem and MySpace have quite a lot in common? Put it this way, Eminem's Greatest Hits album was so 2005.