AU MA Social Media

A class blog about social media.

Spurlock Talk

Posted by Natalia Protopopoff on June 6, 2013

If we’re embracing transparency here, I have to admit, my first thought was: “what an awful handlebar mustache.”

Aside from his facial hair faux pas, I really did enjoy Spurlock’s talk. His message about transparency resonated with me, though the way he chose to get there was a bit confusing.

Right off the bat, he had my attention by emphasizing the need to examine societal issues in a way that makes them engaging and accessible. For me that was the genius behind “Super Size Me.” Facts and figures only go so far, and sometimes the only way to capture the attention of the general public is an “in your face”, cause-and-effect approach.

Once Spurlock dove into the movie concept, however, I wasn’t sure what he was trying to achieve. On the one hand, I thought his intention was to expose the manipulative nature of product placement, by essentially creating a full-length movie advertisement.

However, once the talk progressed, it appeared as though the goal of his “movie experiment” was to demonstrate the importance of taking risk, and charting unfamiliar territory.

It seemed to me that was Spurlock was trying to communicate was that transparency (what he was asking of the ad agencies) is risky, scary, and unpredictable (like his movie concept). However, risks are opportunities that can generate serious results (i.e. the movie’s 900,000,000 media impressions over a 2 week period). When we embrace transparency, we ultimately embrace the associated risk and fear, and in doing so, become a stronger brand.


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