AU MA Social Media

A class blog about social media.

“Nothing could prepare me for anything as difficult or dangerous as going into the rooms with the ad agencies”

Posted by Lauren F. on June 6, 2013

ImageAfter a lengthy analysis at a top branding agency, Morgan Spurlock emerged with a clear description of his brand; Morgan Spurlock is playful and mindful. And this is an apt characterization of the man who went to prison, worked in a coal mine, filmed in war zones, and ate nothing but McDonalds for 30 days all in the name of examining our current culture to reveal certain truths about society.

But, in his TED Talk, “The Greatest TED Talk Ever Sold,” Spurlock addressed the topic of branding and sponsorship, the subject of which is explored in his new feature-length documentary. “Nothing could prepare me for anything as difficult or dangerous as going into the rooms with the ad agencies,” said Spurlock. After a series of failed pitches, he found that the advertising agencies were hesitant to participate in the film because they wouldn’t have control of the final product and the way their names would be used. Ultimately, the problem was transparency.

In a fragmented media world, Spurlock said, the goal is to get your product in front of as many people as possibly by whatever means. And so, too often, honest and transparency is scarified in order to achieve this goal.

In regards to social media, the ideal purpose of sites like Twitter and Facebook are so people and businesses have an outlet to express themselves and communicate with one another. And yet, this simple concept has become cluttered by the ever-growing fear of doing something wrong or right, not being true to the brand, or portraying the wrong image to your audience. As a result, both personal and corporate digital communication can often become a watered-down version of what it should and could be.

Although I don’t advocate for a constant stream of consciousness Twitter feed, Spurlock was absolutely correct in my opinion when he said we’re being over-trained to avoid risk and in so are losing our genuine voices and ultimately our real transparency. And I believe it is these companies that embrace fear and take risks that stand the test of time in consumers’ minds and hearts.


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