This past week at the Sundance Film Festival, Morgan Spurlock debuted his latest effort, “Pom Wonderful Presents… The Greatest Film Ever Sold”. Known primarily for his film Super Size Me, which also premiered at Sundance, the documentarian’s new film is a look at the phenomenon of product placement and advertising in film. Probably the first example of a film where the advertisers name is an essential element to its title, the entire production was actually financed by product placement within the film. Several brands are represented in the film not only as case studies but as companies who purchased advertising through their financing of the film. Many reviewers have already commented on the meta nature of the film insofar that it is not only a film about product placement but about the financing of itself.
In an interview with the Hot Button, Spurlock explains the benchmarks that were negotiated with their primary sponsor, Pom Wonderful, to receive the full one million dollars they offered to put into the film. POM, a beverage company known for their double-bulb shaped bottles and pomegranate juice, gave the filmmaker 100 thousand dollars upfront as well as provided 500 thousand for a commercial. To receive the rest of the money, Spurlock must get at least 250 screens worldwide, achieve 500 thousand DVD sales and digital downloads and get 600 million media impressions.
Media impressions, the “count of a delivered basic advertising unit from an ad distribution point” have already begun to be counted as of the film’s first screening at the festival.
Although the film takes a critical look at product placement, according to Spurlock he embraces the brands as well. He claims the film is not only one where the brands will come away happy, but also one where he was able to maintain the final cut and creative control.
Watch the video interview for more insight into the film as well as into the filmmaker’s motivations behind making it.