Greatest Movie Ever Sold–fingernails on the cultural blackboard

Morgan Spurlock may be emerging as the biggest social critic of our time. First, he did Supersize Me about our fast food culture. Now, his take on our advertising infested world is “Pom Wonderful: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.”

Why Pom Wonderful? Because he got them to pony up and pay $1 million for the rights to be the marquee brand on this film. And its a film about product placement. But the real joke, to him at least, is that over 500 companies turned him down for product placement in this film. Seventeen brands agreed. The joke of course is that these companies would be happy to pay for placing their brands in movies, but when the movie points out to the audience that they paid for it, suddenly it isn’t worth doing, or its embarrassing, or just plain stupid as some of them say in the trailer.

Did Pom Wonderful do the right thing by being the big sponsor here? I doubt I’d be mentioning there brand other than for a crisis if they hadn’t. We’ll see, maybe it will be a crisis.

I haven’t seen the movie and it may be awful, but something tells me its going to do quite well. In part because Spurlock seems to be pretty good at PR himself. Giving a TED talk seems to me to put yourself in the upper sphere of intellectual contributors today and here is Spurlock on TED talking about corporate transparency.

I can see the link but I don’t think Greatest Movie is really about corporate transparency as he wants to position it. It is more about how commerce and particularly promotion of products is all pervasive in our culture and how it operates on a sort of willing suspension of disbelief. Pull the curtain back on the wizard and he becomes very uncomfortable.

I’ve made my living for most of my career in the marketing, advertising and public relations business. The film concept fascinates me, creeps me out and makes me think about becoming a small farmer. (Hmm, maybe I can grow potatoes and sell them to McDonalds for french fries.)