That is one of several questions in Morgan Spurlock's new movie Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. Did Spurlock sell out to the advertisers in order to get money to make his movie, or did he make smart business decisions and buy in to brand integration to help fund a movie he wanted to make?
SBC Advertising held an exclusive sneak preview for Spurlock's new movie, a day before it opens city wide in Columbus on Friday, May 20th. The underlying quest in Spurlock's movie is to fund an entire documentary using advertising dollars from brands such as Old Navy, Sheetz Convenience Stores, Ban deodorant, Jet Blue Airways, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts and of course the jackpot title sponsor Pom Wonderful.
A number of provocative questions arise throughout the movie and one of the most prominent was:
Is advertising helpful or manipulative?
In the case of Broward County School District in Florida, advertising dollars served as fundraising support for local schools. The schools are required to implement more school-run extracurricular programs, yet their budgets are constantly trimmed. In this case: advertising = good and helpful
On the other side of the debate lies the fast food industry. With an all-time high American childhood obesity rate, parents and health officials are in an uproar that McDonald's is selling Happy Meals with toys to specifically target children. In this case: advertising = bad and manipulative.
Spurlock presents both sides of the advertising discussion while enlisting the opinions of consumer experts (Martin Lindstrom), public figures (The Donald) as well as the average Jane Consumer on the street.
We think the movie was interesting, and offered a nice balance between presenting the benefits and pitfalls of product placement. As advertisers, we weren't sure what to expect and were surprised to find Spurlock had represented our industry fairly. But as far as whether or not Spurlock himself sold out, we're still figuring that one out.
So, what do you think? Did Spurlock simply raise money to buy in to the marriage of brands and entertainment in order to make a movie? Was this really a documentary about the subject of product placement? Or did he sell out to big brand name corporations just for the money?
We'd love to hear your thoughts.
Pom Wonderful: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold