Cinema aficionados and democracy lovers alike came together last night to see a packed sneak preview of, POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, at E. Street Cinema in downtown Washington, D.C. Morgan Spurlock, critically acclaimed filmmaker of Supersize Me, among many others, was there to hear the roars of laughter and thoughtful questions his latest documentary evoked.
The film’s focus was on branding and the many ways corporations are seeping into the every aspect of our daily lives. In Supersize Me Spurlock bought into McDonald’s meals in order to illustrate how unhealthy fast food is. In The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Spurlock sold out in order to illustrate how unhealthy advertising has become. To do this, Spurlock set a goal: make a documentary sponsored entirely by corporations. In the film, Spurlock is seen making cold call after cold call and pitching board room after board room of marketing executives, all in an attempt to convince brands that they should pay for the production of his documentary in exchange for him featuring their products in scenes throughout the film.
After dozens of failed attempts, Spurlock got his first big break when Ban deodorant agreed to be a sponsor. Spurlock told the E Street audience that after other companies heard that Ban was on board, things really began to heat up. Soon, Spurlock was driving Minis everywhere, only staying in Hyatt hotels and interviewing Public Citizen’s very own Robert Weissman at a Jet Blue terminal.
After the film concluded Thursday night, Weissman sat between Spurlock and Ralph Nader and moderated a lively series of questions from the audience. Weissman discussed the importance of transparency and his view that any television show featuring product placement ought to include a pop-up that indicated to viewers that a corporation had paid for the show’s visual or audio endorsement of their product.
One audience member suggested that politicians ought to be made to wear Nascar race car driver logo emblazoned suits like the one Spurlock was wearing in order to show the public what companies had bankrolled their campaigns. Nader said that nothing in the public realm should be up for sale, including our elections.
See the trailer for The Greatest Movie Ever Sold here,