• Documentary Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock’s new film The Greatest Movie Ever Sold premiered at the Library Theater this afternoon to a packed house. The film already has a distribution deal with Sony Classics and will be in theaters this spring. The movie is pure Spurlock. He is in almost every scene and the narrative is centered on his shenanigans. This time he isn’t exclusively eating at McDonalds or tracking down Osama Bin Laden, but rather trying to raise $1.5 million to finance a film about product placement in film and television. It’s so very meta. The film bounces between Spurlock’s financing efforts to discussions with Noam Chomsky and Ralph Nadar about commercialism and interviews with prominent directors about product placement in their blockbuster films. Spurlock does eventually finance his film with endorsements from companies such as Mini Copper (the film’s official car), Jet Blue (the film’s official airline), Hyatt (the film’s official hotel), Ban (the film’s official antiperspirant/deodorant), and POM Wonderful (the film's official drink). This official sponsorship translated into, for example, Spurlock exclusively drinking Pom on camera, and even at today’s post-screening Q&A he was holding a Pom. The companies were all in on the film’s premise from Spurlock’s initial pitch, which is of course documented in the film. As part of the deal with sponsors, the film includes 30 second commercials. These are some of the funniest advertisements I’ve ever seen. My favorite was an ad for Mane n’ Tail shampoo, which features Spurlock, his young son, and a miniature horse all hanging out in a bathtub using Mane n’ Tail. Hey, the shampoo’s whole pitch is that it can be used on humans and horses.
The Pom girls post-screening. Note the product placement. •
I am admittedly a person who is very influenced by advertisements, although I rarely act based on said advertisements. For instance, if I was in the market for a luxury car, I would seriously consider buying a Lincoln solely based on Mad Men’s John Slattery’s seductive commercials. But I have no plans to buy a luxury car any time in the foreseeable future. That said, when I left The Greatest Movie Ever Sold I seriously contemplated going to the grocery store and buying a fancy Pom pomegranate drink – you know, just to see what the fuss was about. But a purchase was not necessary, because as I made my way through the parking lot I was greeted by some Pom ambush marketers who happily handed me an ice cold Pom. And let me tell you, it was refreshing.