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Morgan Spurlock: Embracing Risk=Brand Success?

Posted by Stephanie on June 11, 2013


The opportunity to name a TED talk was a unique opportunity for a company offered by Morgan Spurlock. We learned in the end the talk was named “Embrace Transparency,” which I feel flowed less than passably with the overarching theme of his talking points. Though the notion of what goes into a brand and what truly makes a brand successful was the premise of the talk, in terms of inspiration and innovation, Spurlock left something to be desired.

In keeping with his theme of making films entertaining and accessible to an audience, Spurlock detailed a new recent venture of his. Though it didn’t involve binge eating fast food, going to jail or working in a mine, the experiment was funny to watch and yielded interesting results.

 He wanted to create a movie that is funded by strictly product placement

  • Made up by brands
  • When pitched, media heads of big companies speculated audience receptiveness
  • The film wanted to tell the “real story”- issue with the notion of transparency

In addition to having his pitch for the movie turned down, Spurlock discovered that multi million dollar companies couldn’t define their own brand. So he tried asking the general public what their “personal” brand was, in the process discovering his own brand… Which still didn’t translate smoothly to the point he was trying to make in his talk.

Spurlock however did realize through this undertaking, that the projects he has had the most success with was when he directly dealt with the person, company, or subject and cutting out the middle man completely. He eventually had some companies agree to join him in his movie venture, which led to an outrageous number of gross impressions before the movie was even released.

The moral of the story: taking risks leads to opportunity; companies need to embrace fear and embrace risk, and transparency. A little honesty goes a long way. So the question remains—was Superlock inspiring his audience to be brave and empowered to take risks, or shamelessly plugging his new movie?

 -Stephanie Saulsbury


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