The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

GMESLast weekend I saw Morgan Spurlock’s new documentary POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. Morgan Spurlock was the creator of Super Size Me, his 2004 documentary on the fast food business. Spurlock is the writer, producer, director and lead actor in his new movie—very efficient.

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold should be required viewing for anyone in the marketing business. It is a tongue-in-cheek, yet real, view of product placement. The concept is simple and brilliant. The movie documented Spurlock’s pitch of various brands and companies to participate as sponsors the movie. His goal was to raise $1.5 Million to fund the movie’s production. The movie itself is the documentary of the process. Brilliant. POM Wonderful is a maverick enough brand (it’s a drink) to realize the benefit of being the “title sponsor”. I wasn’t ever aware of POM Wonderful before having seen the movie. I am now, and I want to try it, so on some level product placement really works.

The underlying message exposed the reality of product placement in movies and TV programs for what it is, “shameless promotion”. But is shameless promotion really evil or merely the price of entry of delivering cost effective programming and movies? In fact in today’s time shifted DVR world, the integration of product messages within TV programming is becoming more mainstream “advertising” that the 30 second messages between the programming. We’ve actually become the real world Truman Show, another terrific movie which also lambastes product placement.

Spurlock is brilliant as the lead protagonist in the corporate sell-a-thon. In fact his appearance promoting the movie with his multi-logoed jacket (pictured above) would make a NASCAR race car proud.

Beyond POM Wonderful, brands also prominently featured in the movie were Ban deodorant, Mini Cooper, Jet Blue, Hyatt & Sheetz. They each got their money’s worth, and I give each credit for the courage to participate in a movie which at its core questions whether product placement is a sell-out.

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is not big box office. It has garnered only $335,275  to date through May 8. It’s now playing in only 18 theaters, 46 at its height. For those of you in the Philadelphia area where I reside, you can see it at the Ritz Five in Philly and in Bryn Mawr. See it soon as it probably won’t run for long. But again the movie production was paid for by the featured brands, so modest box office will probably yield a profitable venture. But regardless of the size of the box office, this is a really intelligently done, clever movie. And to my friends in the marketing world, and those fascinated by marketing, my strong suggestion is to take the time and see this movie. You’ll be entertained, informed, and you’ll be glad you did.

Kudos (oops, that’s a brand too) to Morgan Spurlock.

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