A contemplation on how entertainment culture is being changed and possibly damaged as creators take money from brands.
PSFK were invited to a screening recently of Morgan Spurlock’s new movie. The documentary director, possibly best know for his hit Supersize Me, has turned his attention to advertising and product placement.
The movie however seems rushed and doesn’t have a clear message. At first, the Greatest Movie Ever Sold seems to be a swipe at the advertising industry but the film ends more as a contemplation on how entertainment culture is being changed and possibly damaged as creators take money from brands. Early on, Spurlock shows advertising agencies avoiding his inquiries but a few brave souls like David Art Wales and Faris Yakob are featured openly discussing the business. The story changes though while Spurlock camps it up and exemplifies how he has to change his movie to take advantage of all the deals he’s made with brands.
The film seems more of a mulling over a topic than a piece with a clear point of view. Probably the most interesting part of the film is when Spurlock goes to Sao Paulo to find that all outdoor advertising has been banned – but even this arresting moment is out of sync with the direction the movie is traveling towards.
The film doesn’t have the urgency that Supersize Me has and while the audience can laugh all we want at how silly marketing people seem, they aren’t left with the feeling that brands are really the bad guys here – and there’s no finger wagging at all those culture creators taking the money off the table either.
Probably, one of the frustrating things about the documentary is that it’s set in movie-land. I feel that it would have been better to cast the spotlight at where the biggest discussion about branding and content is taking place: online. The internet is the Wild West of brand-fueled content right now and while there are plenty of people watching what happens with brands in film and on TV, there seems to be a lot of content being created or sponsored on social networks and YouTube that blurs the line about the role brands take in culture creation.
And so at the end of the movie, you leave giggling at the manipulation of film content by brands but if you really think about it, you’re left with wondering if this is just the start of a conversation that should discuss all aspects of modern content and media production.