Morgan Spurlock's new film takes swipe at advertising

Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:02pm EDT
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Director Morgan Spurlock readily admits the idea for his new documentary was a stroke of genius.

The "Super Size Me" director convinced 15 companies to pay $1.5 million to fund his latest non-fiction film, opening in U.S. movie theaters on Friday, that examines corporate marketing, product placement and brand integration.

The 40-year-old director's latest swipe at business shows Spurlock hilariously pitching companies to fund his film that exposes sponsorship and advertising in movies, TV shows and just about everywhere people turn -- knowingly and unknowingly.

With surprising results, some marketers eventually join him in return for some often comic product placement in the film that gives companies mostly good exposure while Spurlock also makes his point. He even changed the title to add a product, "POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold," in a nod to juice maker, POM.

"I am incredibly convincing," Spurlock said, laughing about his idea. "But it took a lot of wooing to get them on board, there was a lot of contractual negotiations."

Such is his wooing prowess that since the film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January, Spurlock has added even more companies to sponsor his expose on their own marketing practices. On Wednesday he announced an additional eight companies as sponsors, bringing the total to 22.

The idea for the film first struck Spurlock when he and producer Jeremy Chilnick watched the TV show "Heroes" and one character became very excited about a certain brand of car.

"I was like 'Wow,' that's really where we are right now with television, such a blatant in-your-face commercial in the show," he said. "So we said, 'Let's make a film that looks at product placement, completely paid for by product placement.'"   Continued...