SXSW FILM 2011
By Dave Campbell | April 21, 2011
Director: Morgan Spurlock
Writers: Morgan Spurlock, Jeremy Chilnick
Featuring: JJ Abrams, Quentin Tarantino, Peter Berg, Brett Ratner
Sponsors: Amy’s Kitchen, The country of Aruba, Ban, Carmex, Carrera Sunglasses, Hyatt, JetBlue, Mane ‘n Tail, Merrell, Mini, Trident, Movietickets.com, Old Navy, Petland Discounts, POM Wonderful, Seventh Generation Inc., Sheetz, Ted Baker, Thayers
Morgan Spurlock exploded onto the documentary filmmaking scene in 2004 with the Oscar-nominated Super Size Me. In it, Spurlock ate nothing but three “square” meals of McDonald’s each day for 30 days to prove how bad their food really was and reveal the effect it was having on our health and culture. With POM Wonderful presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Spurlock dives head first into the world of product placement (aka embedded marketing/advertising) in Film and TV. What better way to do this than going on a personal journey of pitching various companies to fund an entire production from product placement deals and documenting the process along the way.
Spurlock completely sells out or buys in (depending on the perspective) with hilarious and sometimes confusing outcomes (Ban Deodorant) inside closed door pitch meetings and presentations with potential sponsors. Due to the cross-marketing agreements that Spurlock is able to acquire, each brand will also have Spurlock and The Greatest Movie Ever Sold to use in their own specific brand advertising campaigns with Spurlock ultimately retaining creative control of the film’s final cut. Per Spurlock’s SXSW 2011 Q&A: The brilliantly creative way he was able to do this was by putting off screenings for the sponsors by encouraging them to attend Sundance 2011 to view the film. This enabled them to view the film in an exciting friendly way with an actual audience rather than sitting in controlled board rooms taking notes with their lawyers.
Spurlock is a master showman and surpasses his documentarian peers in bringing superior entertainment value to the subject matter at hand. We are given a first hand look at the process of how filmmakers and studios secure financial production support by landing product placement deals with corporate entities, all wrapped up in the candy coated package that is Morgan Spurlock. I’m not saying that all documentaries need to be full of jazz hands or dog and pony shows, but Spurlock has really nailed down a style that works well with his charismatic personality. The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is as informative and revealing as any well made documentary should be, and just as satisfying as a well written comedic narrative film.