News / USA

    'Super Size Me' Director Tackles Product Placement in Movies

    Morgan Spurlock examines whether such agreements undermine artistic integrity

    Morgan Spurlock in his latest documentary, 'Pom Wonderful: The Greatest Story Ever Sold,' which focuses on product advertisement in film and television.
    Morgan Spurlock in his latest documentary, 'Pom Wonderful: The Greatest Story Ever Sold,' which focuses on product advertisement in film and television.

    Multimedia

    Penelope Poulou

    In his new documentary "Pom Wonderful: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold," director Morgan Spurlock satirizes corporate product placement in film and television, showcasing the process in which filmmakers help fund their productions by making deals to place products in their films.

    Spurlock, who subsisted for a month on a McDonald's diet for  his previous movie "Super Size Me," believes that, in making these kinds of deals, filmmakers put their own credibility at risk.

    Spurlock decided to zoom in on product advertisement in films and TV series after watching an episode of "Heroes," his favorite TV show.

    "In one episode, Hayden Panettiere, the cheerleader, comes out of school. Her birthday is coming up and her dad says 'Honey, your mom and I were really proud of you.' And he reaches in his pocket and as he does he pulls out a set of keys. It cuts to the front of the car, passes the Nissan logo, back to her, the keys are held in front of her face, the focus on her face as she goes 'Ah! The Rogue? The Nissan Rogue? Oh my gosh! I can't believe you're giving me the Rogue! It's the Rogue!’ I was so completely dumbfounded because it was like 'Wow. That just happened. I really watched a commercial in the middle of the show right now.'"

    Spurlock decided to make a film all about product placement, marketing and advertising where the entire film is funded by product placement, marketing and advertising. With his usual dry humor, Spurlock takes viewers along as he meets with marketing directors to get funding for his latest film. Even though Spurlock offers to place products in his documentary, he's repeatedly turned down.

    In the documentary, Spurlock asks an advertising executive, "Is it a tough sell because of the film or because of me?" The executive answers, "Both."

    "The companies were saying 'Listen, I already saw what you did to that company,'" says Spurlock, referring to McDonald’s in his movie "Super Size Me." "'Why do I want to help you with this movie?' It was an uphill battle."

    Spurlock finally strikes a deal with juice manufacturer Pom Wonderful. Once Pom Wonderful forked over funds, other companies followed. The film is funny but it also throws light into the dark corners of contemporary marketing.

    "They put people in MRIs and they show you commercials. They see how your brain reacts to the commercial," Spurlock says. "Then, they re-edit the commercial so it hits very targeted desire centers of your brain that will respond to fear or craving or sex, whatever they may be."

    According to Spurlock, most films get some of their funding from product placement. He says, for example, the blockbuster "Ironman" showcased more than 100 products throughout the film. However, he warns such agreements can undermine artistic integrity.

    "You start dealing with studios and network television and ultimately these companies are in the writer’s room. They are telling you what the dialogue should say."

    Spurlock says he maintained creative control of his film. He doesn't discourage filmmakers from striking agreements with corporations as long as they do the same.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora