Sunday, April 24, 2011

Expose on product placement funded entirely by product placement.. sigh.

The now showing Morgan Spurlock 'Greatest Movie Ever Sold' is entirely funded by product placement, and as the NYT says,
"The layers of meta can get pretty thick."

Morgan Spurlock, made famous in part by his past film Super Size Me, raises the following key points and questions:

-the curtain is one of the values of product placement; why would you want to pull back the curtain on it, ruining marketing?

-approached 600 brands, ended up with 20 partners

-where do we draw the line, both in films and society?

-do we want to live in a world where everything is brought to you by a sponsor? That's where we're heading.

Longer NYT excerpt below:

The business model of product placement — in which studios and television networks defray their costs by highlighting products on-screen in exchange for money or their free use — is a fact of life in Hollywood. And it’s nothing new: Jules Verne sold naming rights to the shipping companies in “Around the World in 80 Days,” and at the birth of films, Thomas Edison put ads for his own products in his creations.

But Mr. Spurlock said advertising had become so ubiquitous in films and life in general that people often failed to notice it. (“Iron Man 2,” he notes in the film, promoted 64 different products in 125 minutes.) “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” becomes a high-concept caper in which talking heads like Noam Chomsky and Ralph Nader, who examine how the culture has been Nascar-ized, are interspersed with Mr. Spurlock’s efforts to finance the movie.

The layers of meta can get pretty thick. But mixed in with the serious comments by serious people — in addition to Mr. Chomsky and Mr. Nader, movie bigwigs like J. J. Abrams, Brett Ratner and Quentin Tarantino weigh in — there is real movie tension and hilarity in watching corporate folks trying to get their arms around the idea of placing their carefully nurtured brands in Mr. Spurlock’s hands.

Watch Spurlock on the Colbert Report:


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. And as I write this, I myself am engaging in product placement (of this movie) = triple meta.

  3. i will like to see this movie, because although i notice product placement often, and shake my head slowly, i think it's a cool way to get people to know about random stuff. i hate actual ads, because they are so obvious. seduce me into it, as colbert says. how ironic though, to finance a film in this way. ironic metaness.

  4. anyone besides me suspect there to be Diet Coke product placement in books? I swear every "literary" contemporary novel I've read of late mentions Diet coke specifically and no other soda brands. Susan--you should investigate