AU MA Social Media

A class blog about social media.

Morgan Spurlock’s TED Talk For Sale

Posted by valariewarren on June 6, 2013

Documentarian and filmmaker, Morgan Spurlock, is no James Bond; however when he begins listing his list of experiences at his recent TED Talk, you would think he was a 007 spy agent in training. With experiences in coal mines, prisons and war zones, he has a compilation of works in difficult and dangerous arenas. His career’s mission and goal is to examine societal issues that will be engaging, education and interesting and accessible to his audience. We’ll today, his TED Talk presentation would be about examining the world of branding and sponsorship. He starts off by stating that he took an ad out on, giving people the opportunity to purchasing the naming rights to his TED talk. Okay…now this could be interesting. Who would take such a risky move as to buy naming rights to his TED talk with no idea of what the content, subject matter or title would be. But it could be a very good media opportunity should they take the risk of sponsoring Spurlock’s TED talk. This could be compared as a sponsorship marriage made in “heaven” or a mail-order marriage from “hell”.
Spurlock continues presenting to his audience his new movie idea. The new project would examine the role of marketing and advertisement while being itself a movie entirely funded through product placement, advertising and marketing. The movie would be called the “Brand X presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” and comes with a production price tag of about $1.5 million.
Finding sponsorship for a film that is about product placement, marketing and advertisement would not be an easy feat as Spurlock soon explains. The title of the movie would appear with the sponsor’s name at the top, Spurlock states as he holds a small poster depicting an example of his banner ad to smirking public relation agents from companies like Ogilvy, MediaLink and Wieden and Kennedy. He visits over 20 public relation firms in all. And in all, each firm rejects his pitch with smirks and laughter. The goal of the whole film Spurlock states is “to show transparency”; however, it looked like his film on transparency in the advertisement industry was hitting a brick wall and shattering into pieces before it could ever get started. It appeared that our hero may not conquer his antagonist.
Transparency, Spurlock admits, is scary, unpredictable and risky. He states that many of the firms and companies who rejected his pitch and request for sponsorship for the movie wanted him to tell their story and found it too difficult to release all creative authority and rights to the film over to Spurlock. They were the opposite of risk takers.
Next, Spurlock thinks that he needs to figure out what his brand is so that he can better target potential sponsors. He discovers that his brand is mindful and playful, and he needs to target companies that are similar to his own brand identity. Companies like Apple, Target, Wii, Mini Cooper and jetBlue are mentioned as being similar to Spurlock’s brand identity.
Spurlock reached out to over 500 companies that would hopefully be willing to sponsor his film. In all, seventeen companies, such as the Hyatt, POM, Old Navy, Seventh Generation, jetBlue and Ban responded positively to his pitch and were egger to sponsor his film which is currently under production.
Overall, Spurlock encourages people to train their employees to be risk takers. He warns that being risk adverse within your company would prepare your whole company to also be reward challenged.
At the end of his presentation Spurlock announces that EMC sponsored his TED talk for a total of $7,100.


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