Morgan Spurlock's latest movie "The Greatest Movie Ever
Sold" is a documentary about product placement, marketing, and advertising
funded entirely by product placement, marketing, and advertising. As you let
that sink in, check out the trailer.
Spurlock first made a name for himself with his 2004
Oscar-nominated documentary "Super Size
Me." He wanted to expose the
connection between the spike in obesity in the country and the lousy
nutritional content of America's
fast food culture. He did so in an elegantly direct way; he subsisted on nothing
but food from McDonald's for a month. By the end of the shoot, the formerly
healthy filmmaker had gained 25 pounds and was well on his was to liver
failure. The effect of the movie was far more devastating than a more conventional
doc; not long after the movie premiered, McDonald's dropped its Super Size meal
and tried to rebrand itself with a healthier image.
For his latest movie, Spurlock is taking on product
placement in movies. Pick any flick playing at your local megaplex and you'll
no doubt find a scene where an Apple computer or Ford truck or bucket of
Popeye's chicken is curiously prominent in the shot. That, of course, is no
accident. Whole teams of marketers have sprung up to create subtle (and not so
subtle) advertisements within a movie, much to the dismay of filmmakers,
consumer activists, and anyone who wants to watch a movie, not a commercial.
And as you see from the trailer, Spurlock tackles the
issue with his trademark self-reflective style. Much of the movie shows
Spurlock wheeling and dealing with advertisers to fund the documentary, cutting
whatever product placement agreements he can. He shills for "Mane 'n Tail"
shampoo. He hawks shoes to Ralph Nader. He talks about having collectors'
cups for the movie. He dons a suit studded with corporate logos. And, of
course, the official title of the movie is "POM Wonderful Presents The Greatest
Movie Ever Sold."
So will the film change the marketing industry in the
same way that "Super Size Me" changed fast food? Find out on April 22 when the
- Morgan Spurlock