POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (Director: Morgan Spurlock): I absolutely loved this movie. It was funny, clever and it had the Hot Docs audience buzzing as they left the theatre. People were on their cellphones telling their friends that they have to see this film. To make this movie-going experience even more memorable, there were girls serving POM Wonderful beverages in the lobby of Isabel Bader Theatre after the screening.
Morgan Spurlock, the man behind Super Size Me is back with a film that seems to be a real crowd pleaser. In The Greatest Movie Ever Sold Spurlock takes a critical look at product placement, corporate branding and advertising in TV and film. Instead of making a boring academic film, Spurlock sets out to make blockbuster documentary that is fully funded by product placement, sponsorship and advertising.
How do products like POM Wonderful, Ban and Old Navy worm their way into a film? What does it cost Sheetz to be featured in this film? Spurlock takes us behind the scenes to pitch meetings and marketing presentations with various corporate brands to better understand how much of our entertainment is influenced by corporations. He covers a lot of ground by speaking to Hollywood directors (Quentin Tarantino, Peter Berg, J.J. Abrams) educators (Sut Jhally, Noam Chomsky), musicians, advertising executives and more.
At one point, Spurlock questions whether we need product placement and advertising. He flies to São Paulo, Brazil in search of some answers where the entire city has banned outdoor advertising yet commerce seems to thrive. He also visits Florida where the public schools would love to be able to advertise on school buses and school property to offset growing budget cutbacks. Is advertising really a necessary evil?
Spurlock’s journey of making a “doc-buster” that is fully funded by product placement is very entertaining. I don’t know that the film really educates the viewer but it makes you realize how receptive we’ve become to brands in popular culture. Almost everywhere you look, you see advertising. At one point in the film Ralph Nader says that the only place you can avoid advertising is when you sleep.
Before I saw this film I had no idea that POM Wonderful is pomegranate juice. I’m sure it will be the best million dollars that POM Wonderful has ever spent on advertising their product.
It’s hard to imagine this film without its man from West Virginia – Morgan Spurlock. He has become his own brand in the same way that Michael Moore is now a brand. Spurlock shines in The Greatest Movie Ever Sold and without his sarcastic wit this film would be as exciting as prune juice.
Films are rated from 1 to 4 stars.