By Sara Salter, Director of Consulting
We live in a world where the advertising market is so saturated, and yet the average consumer doesn’t always know they are being advertised to. There are very few movies that aim to shed light on this topic. I recently had the pleasure of hearing Morgan Spurlock, the director of the documentary “Super Size Me”, speak to the Public Relations Society of America about his experience regarding another of his works, “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold”. It is a documentary entirely about branding, advertising, and product placement that is paid for entirely by the very thing it seeks to explore. His goal was to show the entire process to provide full transparency about the industry.
His speech, which was hilariously witty and funny, also took us through a series of tips which he learned from his movie-making experience. He discussed his struggle with advertisers as they didn’t’ want to be associated with a movie that had such an outlandish concept of their industry. He eventually went straight to brands but pitching his idea was, at first, only well received by challenger brands who were more willing to take risks to standout. It took him 9 months to get his first brand on board– Ban deodorant. He quickly realized that as soon as a brand agreed to support his movie it became obvious that “everyone wants to be first to be second” in advertising. What he meant was that because Ban went in on the documentary, soon did the likes of Main and Tail as well as Pom Wonderful because it was the “next new thing” to capture the attention of others.
Throughout this speech, I realized Spurlock’s genius as a communicator and how he learned to navigate the world of advertising to achieve his vision. He stressed the importance of staying true to your ideals and owning the space in which you want to navigate. Today is the best time to be a communicator in society and share the messages that we want to share but we it requires persistence as well as imagination to get there.
You can check out Spurlock’s TED talk on advertising here: