AU MA Social Media

A class blog about social media.

I do often find myself at the intersection of ‘dark glamour’ and ‘casual fly…’

Posted by tarynbunger on July 19, 2012

Morgan Spurlock has made a career out of putting himself in “difficult and dangerous” situations, whether it being working in a coal mine or eating nothing but McDonalds for an entire month.  But tonight at his TED talk, he told us about his most difficult and dangerous situation yet: diving into the world of product placement, marketing and advertising for his new film “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.”

Spurlock set out to make a movie depicting how brands are integral to all of our lives in a revolutionary way: produce a film about product placement, marketing and advertising funded exclusively by product placement, marketing and advertising.  Unsurprisingly, this idea was not well received by the agencies he approached.  Despite Spurlock’s charm and hilarious storyboard sketches, the world of marketing could not be coaxed into transparency.

Transparency, according to Spurlock is daunting because it is simultaneously scary, unpredictable and risky.  For brand managers who make their money carefully crafting and controlling the reputations of their clients, the idea of handing the reigns over to Spurlock was just too much to bear.

But when he took matters into his own hands by cutting out the middleman and pitching the film directly to the brands themselves, Spurlock found that everyone from the heads of major corporations to a civilian on the sidewalk seizes up when prompted to boil their brand down into a few key words.

With some help from Olson Zaltman Associates, Spurlock determines that his own brand is “playful/mindful,” a dynamic mix of both “up” and “down” attributes that can manifest as both dynamic and engaging.  In the end, he found 17 brands that could see themselves in the same light, and thus “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” was financed.

So is any publicity good publicity?

To find out, maybe we should ask EMC, the highest bidder in Spurlock’s microcosmic invitation to purchase the name of tonight’s TED talk, which it christened “Embrace Transparency.”

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