The inside story of an energy drink marketing ploy gone wrong
DRIB is the inside story of how a Norwegian artist and comedian scammed his way to viral fame, fooled an advertising agency, and almost became the international face of a well-known energy drink - before everything went wrong. To avoid a lawsuit from the brand in question we invented our own: DRIB.
DRIB is a fiction/documentary hybrid that re-enacts the story of a failed violent marketing scheme for a well known energy drink. The film simultaneously exposes and revels in media manipulation as it explores the strange and painfully comic advertising process that took place in 2014 — with the person who ruined it all appearing in the role of himself. To avoid legal issues, the real energy drink brand has been replaced with a fictitious one: DRIB.
Norwegian filmmaker Kristoffer Borgli uses his close friend Amir's bizarre story - how he almost became the international face of a well-known energy drink - as the basis for this fiction/documentary hybrid.
Amir is an idiosyncratic comedian and prankster who created a momentary news sensation in 2014 by provoking random people to fight on the streets of Oslo. Videos of him seemingly getting brutally beaten up was seen by millions, and ended up inspiring a shock-value marketing scheme for a well known energy drink. A major advertising agency invited him to Los Angeles to be the face of their new campaign, but nothing turned out as expected.
DRIB simultaneously exposes and revels in media manipulation as it recounts the remarkable and painfully comic advertising process that took place in 2014, with Amir appearing in the role of himself. The film tracks how art becomes commerce, how something fake can have real effects, and reveals inside information about an industry and the company that almost stopped the film from ever being made. To avoid legal issues, the real energy drink brand has been replaced with a fictitious one: DRIB.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Right after wrapping the shoot in Los Angeles, the culture magazine Dazed ran a piece about the project with the headline: "How a Banned Energy Drink Ad Spawned a Fake Brand and Film". The project started out with the idea of telling a real story with all the factual details, something that quickly became a legal problem because of the brand in question. This forced the project in a new direction, where an energy drink brand was invented, and creative liberties shaped the story closer to a satire. DRIB now confusingly operates as a real brand, with high-end commercials and a social media presence promoting the energy drink, a fashion line, and an upcoming feature film called DRIB.
The whole film is an experiment of sorts; in the film Amir is interviewed about the events that took place in 2014, then everything that happened during his stay in LA is detailed and re-enacted as a feature film experience, shot in LA with Amir appearing in the role of himself. All the meetings, shootings, parties and problems along the way is depicted in detail, warts and all, exposing contemporary media manipulation and advertising exploitation. Because of a signed NDA with the real company, the story was altered and elaborated along the way. The making of this film itself became a central theme when Amir and the director starts to disagree on how to tell the story. The lines between the script and the reality begin to blur, and the film opens up larger philosophical questions about subjective truth in non-fiction, and ethical obligations of using actual people and real life stories for art.
While the film was being made, "fake news" becomes a pivotal subject in world politics and "post-truth" was named word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries, making the films focus on media manipulation and trolling even more relevant.