Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
Please, forgive yourself if you still haven’t yet figured out what Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is about. I had no idea until I actually saw it — even after watching the trailer. But the film is essentially a “making-of” documentary following filmmaker Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) as he attempts to obtain enough product placement to fund the movie you’re currently watching.
While I still don’t know exactly what Spurlock’s motive was in making the film, or if he intended for us to take anything away from it aside from simply “well ain’t that something!” but it sure makes for an entertaining journey. Spurlock is funny and likable in his own right, far moreso than contemporaries like Michael Moore, but some of the film’s finest moments come when Spurlock is engaged in discussions with authorities on the subject. It might not have even been intentional, but I couldn’t help but laugh when Brett Rattner, director of such artistically-inclined films as the Rush Hour trilogy, gives testimony on whether using product placement to help meet your film’s budget compromises one’s artistic integrity.
Whether it was Spurlock’s intended message or not, it became clear to me over the course of the film that the line between commerce and entertainment is blurring. It does take a good match between film and product to establish a co-productive relationship, however. A smaller company like Pom Wonderful might be more obliged to work with a maverick like Spurlock, while it makes more sense for Burger King to continue working with the Iron Mans of the world.
Even a guy like Quentin Tarantino, who makes an appearance in Greatest Movie, has had his co-promotion attempts thwarted. A young Tarantino spent many late nights at Denny‘s, yet the home of the Grand Slam breakfast denied him the chance to feature the restaurant in the now-iconic diner scenes in both Reservoir Dogs and Pump Fiction. I wonder if Denny’s would have seen the relationship as a proper match now, given all the sustained advertisement they would have received on DVD and cable over the years.
A rather funny moment comes when Outkast’s Big Boi claims the group once turned down a “Got Milk?” ad simply because Andre 3000 doesn’t drink milk. Now that’s sticking to your principles! But my favorite quote in the movie features the always candid Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights) proclaiming from his Universal office “G.E. is my boss, really, and they don’t give a flying fuck about art.”
I probably learned more about “branding” and “advertising” during the 90 minutes of Greatest Movie than I did in an entire semester of my 300-level Marketing class. College professors should be fired if this film doesn’t become a fixture in business school classrooms. Spurlock makes advertising sound a hell of a lot more fun than my professor did, and his film could do wonders for the number of majors in college Marketing programs.