Don’t you hate it when you’re watching a film or some show and some glaringly obvious product is shoved in front of the camera, like a can of Coke or something? It’s so blatantly obvious that it’s a product placement. Obnoxious much?
Don’t you hate it when you’re watching a film or some show and some glaringly obvious product is shoved in front of the camera, like a can of soda or some fast food or something? It’s so blatantly obvious that it’s a product placement. Obnoxious much? Have you seen that show Chuck? Wow. Whores for Subway.
But what if someone made a film ABOUT product placement? What if shoving a product in our faces was the whole point? Well, the mind of film maker Morgan Spurlock works in amusing and satirical ways. The man that brought us Super Size Me has brought us a documentary about marketing, advertising and most definitely product placement in film, by funding his film entirely through product placement. And he’s even gonna show us all how it’s done the whole time. And that film is called, POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.
Spurlock takes us through the process from beginning to end. He starts with showing us what it takes to get sponsorship from a company right from the first pitch meeting. oh wait, he actually starts before that – the cold call pitch in order to GET the pitch meeting. He gets a lot of rejections. What? Rejection from Hollywood? Say it isn’t so!
He then shows us the pitch meetings, the companies asking questions, Like, “Will you make us look like idiots like you did McDonald’s?”, and “We want our product to look good, so are you going to make fun of us?”. Well, questions like that, anyway. And frankly, I was asking myself whether these companies would really do this film because of Spurlock’s reputation. However, he really does have a knack here for getting us to laugh with, instead of at, even though we kinda are laughing AT. I guess what they say is true: any publicity is good publicity.
Spurlock manages to know when to turn on which “character” he needs to play in his amalgam of impartial observer, active participant, and complete sellout. He neither takes a signigficant bias on the subject, yet manages to keep the film completely watchable. It’s really Spurlock that does it, and he keeps the humor moving. At one minute he’ll be winking at the camera letting us in on the humor, the next he knows to play the sleazy straight man in his pitches to the companies he wants money from, and then he’ll be the traditional documentarian providing us with facts about the advertising industry. He even knows when to turn off completely and hock the products he’s endorsing by inserting actual commercials in his film. And of course, in Spurlock style, he even knows when to call bullshit on himself. Eventually, he admits on camera that he may be tainted by the whole process or if he’s given us any insight to our culture of consumerism.
There are some great cameos here by people like Ralph Nader, directors Peter Berg, J.J. Abrams, and Brett Ratner, who, by the way, was fairly quick to mention that we are all sell outs, so yeah, he doesn’t really have a problem with that. Surprise, surprise. We also talk to some of the heavy hitters in advertising for film, and you might actually be surprised to find how powerful some of those people are in the creative film making process. Eep.
And some of the most interesting stuff here is about market research in regards to the reactions our brain has to certain ads we see. it’s kinda creepy. You saw that Coke commercial? You want a Coke now, don’t you? Yeah, THAT HAPPENS. Your school can’t afford books this year because of cut backs? No sweat, just sell the inside of the school buses for ad space. DONE.
POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, is chock full of entertainment, and it’s something a documentary has never dealt with before. Morgan Spurlock makes it funny and, frankly, well worth seeing. Hello, four kittenhands.
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, loves the part about the product “Mane ‘n Tail and Body” shampoo. For horses, and people. Yep.