Comedian/actor Sacha Baron Cohen just came up with the most genius marketing strategy of all time. He went on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" Wednesday (Feb. 10) with a clip from his new movie, "The Brothers Grimsby," that is too graphic to be shown on TV -- but they showed it to the studio audience and let the viewers at home watch the audience members' reactions.
Kimmel introduces the clip thusly: "I've been instructed to warn our studio audience -- I know you think we're kidding, but we're not -- that the scene you're about to see are very graphic and potentially offensive. If you want to leave right now, you have the option of doing that. If you want to leave during the clip, you may do that as well."
Cohen also explains how Mark Strong plays a "James Bond type" and Cohen is his "football hooligan" brother. They're in South Africa and "something bad has happened ... and something worse is about to happen." And then ... you don't know what the audience sees. At all. There are sounds -- an elephant sound at some point? But after the initial few seconds of the clip, the TV audience doesn't get to see a single peek.
It almost seems too good to be true -- like the audience was just told to react this way. Kimmel is known for his pranks, after all. But something about the audience's gasps, wide eyes, open mouths and shrieks of laughter seem all too real.
Whether it's real or not, bravo, Sacha Baron Cohen. Bravo.
"The Brothers Grimsby" opens Friday, March 11.