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Morgan Spurlock takes on product placement April 24, 2011

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
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Morgan Spurlock, who gained respect as a film-maker for his 2004 documentary Super Size Me, is at it again, this time taking on the practice of product placement in the entertainment industry with a movie called The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. Spurlock uses his humorous style in making a film about product placement by funding his entire project with product placement, and documenting his presentations to various companies and his discussions with several experts. Spurlock described the idea for the project as originating with his viewing of an episode of Heroes, which depicted a character as being overjoyed by a birthday present of a Nissan Rogue. As Spurlock remembered:

“[The dad] reaches into his pocket and pulls out something and it cuts to the front of the car, the camera dollies past, the Nissan logo goes through the frame, it cuts back in, holding the keys in front of her face, rack focus on her face and she goes, ‘Ahh! The Rogue! The Nissan Rogue! Oh my god! You got me the Rogue! I can’t believe it’s the Rogue! And I was in shock. I was like, wow, that really just happened, I really just saw a commercial right there in the middle of the show.”

For a trailer of the new film, and Spurlock’s discussion of the project at the Sundance Film Festival, see the following videos:

Discussion Questions:

1.  What is product placement, and how is it different from other kinds of advertisements?

2.  Why is product placement so controversial?

3.  Many claim that Spurlock changed the fast food industry with Super Size Me. Can he change the practice of product placement with his new film? Why, or why not?

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