My husband and I are fans of documentary film-maker Morgan Spurlock (of Super Size Me and Where in the World is Osama bin Laden? fame), so we went to see his latest film Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold on opening day in Las Vegas.
The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is all about product placement and how it is everywhere in our society. How many times have you noticed that can of Dr. Pepper in the latest blockbuster film, tried to scan through pages of advertisements in a magazine just to find some actual content, or had to take your kid to McDonald’s to get the latest Disney princess collector’s item? Advertising is everywhere in our society, and with this film, Spurlock tried to make a film about product placement and advertising that was completely funded by corporate sponsors. His goal was to raise $1.5 million. In the process, the film is entirely transparent about the process the film-makers go through to obtain advertising.
If you’re looking for a humorous, witty film this is a great pick. Several times during the movie, I found myself laughing so hard that I had tears in my eyes. The product placement in the film is pretty funny at times, and I especially loved the picture of Morgan lovingly sniffing Ban deodorant and the image of himself with a giant erection after drinking Pom Wonderful.
The film also makes a number of interesting statements about our society and how we are largely controlled by brands. In one scene, Spurlock visits the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil – a city that has recently banned outdoor advertising completely. He interviews several storeowners who say that without advertising they focus on making their products and services great and sales happen via word-of-mouth. Sao Paulo’s residents also said that now they can enjoy the beauty and nature of their city without being inundated with advertisements.
Another interesting point is when Spurlock travels to Florida to try to advertise his film in the Broward County School District. With funding for education constantly being cut in this country, schools are one of the few places that haven’t been sold out to corporations. One of the interviewees suggests it’s because schools are considered “sacred.” It kind of makes you cognizant of the reality that few places in the USA are still considered sacred.
So how effetive was The Greatest Movie Ever Sold in getting its point across? Well, after seeing the movie I was really craving a delicious bottle of Pom Wonderful and a tasty Amy’s Kitchen Personal Pizza, and my husband and I are sad that there aren’t any Sheetz locations near us so we can get our Holy Sheetz! The Greatest Movie Ever Sold Collector’s Cups.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a funny flick that’s an alternative to Pirates of the Caribbean #17 (brought to you by Legos and McDonald’s Happy Meals) this one’s worth checking out.
We’re going to the Seattle International Film Festival this weekend, so no Pirates of the Caribbean for us. There’s McDonald’s toys for International Film Festival, right?
Haven’t seen the flick, only the trailer. Will rent it eventually. Does he go into the history of product placement, like de Beers giving diamonds to Hollywood producers to create the “tradition” of a diamond ring as an engagement gift, or how cigarettes were stuck in movie stars’ mouths?
Interesting, and no he doesn’t go beyond the past 20 years of product placement in movies. I hadn’t heard about the early diamond and cigarette product placements before. It’s amazing to see just how much movie images control our lives and decisions.