Hit or Miss ? The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (2011)

– Where should I be able to go to not see one bit of advertising?
– To sleep.

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is a movie solely about advertising, product placement and marketing. Morgan Spurlock continues on his documentary journey, following such hits as Super Size Me (documentary on the effects of fast-food where Spurlock used himself as a guineapig) and Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden? With his newest documentary, he’s trying to make a film about advertising completely funded by advertisers. Spurlock is a great master of satire and is in his style very similar to Michael Moore without being as provocative towards his interviewees but rather giving out a snarky, self-aware wibe.

The world of product placement is dominating the film scene nowadays, especially with the big productions (James Bond, SATC); filmmakers are no longer looking for people to finance their movies, but for companies to buy advertising space, thereby financing their movies. The bigger the film, the bigger the budget -> loads of product placement. Companies are paying hunreds of thousands to be associated with certain movies, stars or characters. Superheroes, action stars and their gadgets are well known everywhere. Nokia paid thousands for the Matrix plug and Omega watches possibly demanded the Casino Royale line of Craig’s Omega to be called “Beautiful.” by Eva Green; the examples are countless.

TBF I really don’t mind it, as I’m aware of it, but not everyone is. I’m hoping to see some answers to this dilemma in the documentary; it would appear that someone suggests placing disclaimers on top of the film wherever a product is plugged (a ridiculous idea in my opinion). Here are some great examples of product placement gone overboard. When it’s done subtly it can even serve a purpose in a film, it adds to the relatability of the characters.

According to the PQ Media Global Branded Entertainment Marketing Forecast, the reality is, that by 2014, the product placement market will become a 6.1 billion dollars-a year industry, increasing by 200% from 2009. It appears that we’re going to keep on seeing Pepsi, Ford, Nokia, Apple, Pizza Hut, booze, tobacco, cars, mobile phones, computers, tabs, e-readers, Androids, iPads on an increasing pace in film. The breakthrough of especially new, groundbreaking products like smartphones has been aided by their appearence in films.

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold opens in the US on 22 April (limited release), coming to Europe in September.

What are your views on product placement?


8 responses to “Hit or Miss ? The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (2011)

  1. I saw the trailer before Jane Eyre and I actually thought it’s pretty funny. I’ve never seen a Morgan Spurlock documentary before but I would rent this one as my major is Advertising.

    My feelings about product placement is that as long as they aren’t irritatingly obvious or distracting, it’s fine. I mean, w/ Bond and his OMEGA watch, it’s kinda a given and it kinda says something about his personality.

  2. I like your blog, I recently became a subscriber ( :

    I’m looking forward to The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, as I loved Supersized me.

    Like you say, product placement is everywhere, and very difficult to avoid. If it serves the story or character’s personality in a film, then ok with me . I recently wrote on my blog that soundtracks in a way are product placement, so in that respect I’m all for it ( :

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