Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (2011)

Written and Directed by: Morgan Spurlock

Have you ever noticed a character in a movie drinking a Pepsi? Do you notice that the "Pepsi" is being held in a way that the audience is noticing that the actor is in fact drinking that Pepsi product? Do you think that the actor is just drinking said Pepsi because he or she loves that particular soft drink? Ok, maybe I'm beating up a little bit on Pepsi here, (hopefully no one from the Pepsi Corporation is reading this) but the point I'm trying to make is that the brand of soft drink that a character in a movie is drinking, the shoes that they are wearing, or the hamburger they are eating is not by accident...it's called product placement.

 Film maker Morgan Spurlock exposes the world of advertising in Hollywood in his latest documentary The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. Spurlock comes up with a clever idea of directing a film about branding and product placement in films, and has the film itself solely funded by branding and product placement through advertisers. Spurlock has many doors slammed in his face when trying to find sponsors for his film. Most "Big Name" brands want nothing to do with his film. However, he finally does find financial backing for the film, and he does in fact "plug" his sponsors, just as you would see in any other film.

The most interesting aspect of the film is when Spurlock is interviewing director Peter Berg. Berg explains in no uncertain terms how corporate sponsors have the most power in film making. Berg details how an ad executive will show up on the set of a film, to make sure that their brand is being advertised. Through contractual obligations, the ad agencies will order changes the script of his films because of product placement, and there is nothing that he as the director can do about it.  Berg makes the final comment that he  works for GE (General Electric), and they are a business. The bottom line of any business is to make money, and "they don't give a flying fuck about art."

Just as he did in Supersize Me (2004), Spurlock exposes us to something we already knew was there..but didn't realize to what extent. This eye-opening film exposes the true nature of not only what ad sponsors in film is all about, but what the world we live in is all about: making money! But do advertising agencies think that the general population is so dumb that we can't think for ourselves? Sure, advertising has it's place in our world, but the over-saturation in every single thing we see and do has gotten so bad that we don't even know we are being duped into a commercial. The one place where most people to go to escape is the movie theater; now even that simple escape is being turned into the moviegoer being duped into one big commercial.  Film is supposed to be an expression of art- not a plug for Burger King.

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