Since the advent of recording devices and on-demand services, consumers have been bypassing commercials like never before, so advertising agencies have stepped up their use of product placement. In The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Morgan Spurlock renders the process transparent as he documents his attempts to get Madison Avenue to fund his film.
After a flood of rejections, he takes a series of meetings with companies willing to align their brand with his, and make no mistake, Spurlock is as much a brand as Donald Trump or Outkast’s Big Boi, who show up to talk about product endorsement.
The director’s entertaining and enlightening journey even leads him to a juice purveyor that opens its wallet for placement above the title-hence the name of the pomegranate beverage which appears on all promotional materials. As one observer puts it, “You’re selling out, but not selling out.”
For perspective, Spurlock solicits commentary from progressive thinkers, like Ralph Nader and Noam Chomsky, and Hollywood types, like J.J. Abrams, who created Lost, and Quentin Tarantino, who admits that a certain all-night diner rejected his offer to appear in Reservoir Dogs. Spurlock even travels to São Paulo to take a look at their ban on outdoor ads: no billboards or messages on cabs and buses, rendering the city clean and downright dull for those accustomed to American-style marketing.