‘Supersize Me’ director makes ‘Greatest Film’

In 2004, the world was no longer able to deny the fact that they knew was true: McDonald’s, even the healthy choices, are absolutely horrible for you. Of course we all knew this, but it was Morgan Spurlock’s fascinating, slightly nauseating documentary Super Size Me that really drove the point home. The effects of the movie, in which Spurlock vows to eat only McDonald’s for all 3 meals for a 30 day period, were momentous both in terms of the consumers and the company. The low-budget, “experimental” film went on to win the Sundance Film Festival’s top documentary director award as well as get nominated for an Oscar. More than that, this film has been treated like a precious warning for  future generations. Most impressive was McDonald’s response to the film. After news of the documentary was released, McDonald’s went into PR Crisis mode. The day before the documentary was scheduled to open, McDonald’s added the “Go Active” adult happy meals to their menu. Soon enough, even their advertisements were focusing on “healthier choices,” a trend that is still seen today. But perhaps most interesting is McDonald’s decision to remove the forever tainted option of “super-sizing” a meal from their repertoire. These were the first steps toward a gradual,long-anticipated revolution in the fast food world.

It’s nearly 7 years later and Spurlock is about to release his second documentary, also at the Sundance Festival which is currently going on. For his latest film, known as The Greatest Film Even Sold, Spurlock decided to investigate the world of product placement and brand integration. Spurlock quite literally financed this entire film, a $1.5 million venture, by contracted with 15 companies. Due to these contractual obligations, Spurlock decided to change the official name of the film to POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (anyone else really craving pomegranate juice all of a sudden?).

With a film financed entirely by brand name companies, it would be easy to assume that either Spurlock or these companies would seem like a bit of a…well, sell out. In response to a statement from EW asking Spurlock if he felt he was “risking essentially selling out [his] own movie,” Spurlock laughs in response: “I’m not selling out–I’m buying in!”

And the companies? The whole premise of the movie came from Spurlock’s distaste for the blatant, in-your-face product placements/integrations that plague television and film– wouldn’t the companies be the enemy? In the same interview, Spurlock responds: “The companies who were willing to come on board this movie wind up looking great because they had the balls to take part.” Proving, that the ability to laugh at oneself is an important key in both business (especially PR) and life.

Morgan Spurlock’s documentary, which is already receiving warm reviews, can be expected to layer on the humor while also revealing a unique look at an interesting subject. I wonder what kind of effect this film will have on the marketing world?

Find out more:

PRWeek: Sold on the greatest movie ever sold

EW interview

Wire Tap Magazine: Weighing the Impact of Supersize Me

Weighing in on the Golden Globes

I love movies and I love television, so I was most definitely among the many viewers who tuned in to the Golden Globes Sunday night. When I first heard that Ricky Gervais was hosting, I was as giddy as a school-girl. His past performances at awards shows, even those he wasn’t hosting, have always been more than memorable (see example here). Gervais hosted last years Golden Globes and the result were increased ratings. This years outcome appears to have been the same, with a 5% rise in viewers. With these sort of results, Gervais would appear to be a shoe-in for hosting any number of award shows. unfortunately, his  performance has brought in mixed reviews.

I would like to comment on the mixed reactions to Ricky Gervais’ hosting. As I watched the Golden Globes, it was clear that Gervais was playing with fire, pushing the envelope with several of his jokes. The reaction from the audience present was a mixture of laughter, half-hearted “ohhhh”s, shocked gasps, and uncomfortable (and forced) chuckles (mainly from the butt of the jokes). His opening monologue was particularly harsh, commenting on everything from Hugh Hefner’s sex life to Charlie Sheen’s outrageous antics. After reading some reviews of the show, it appear that the most controversial remark he made was in reference to Scientology and the closeted homosexuals who practice it:

“Also not nominated was ‘I Love You Philip Morris,’ Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor.
Two heterosexual characters pretending to be gay.
So the complete opposite of some famous Scientologists, then.”

This thinly veiled joke seems to have upset much of the online community who have called Gervais’ performance as everything from “rude” to “cringe-worthy.”

My opinion?

When you hire Ricky Gervais, expect nothing less than Ricky Gervais.

He is a notoriously malicious comic. His jokes make fun of others as well as himself. And good for him–his unrelenting and unforgiving, an attitude that seems especially necessary in modern-day Hollywood. If someone really is to blame for his indiscretions, shouldn’t it be the producers of the show who a) hired him (back) and b) failed to look over this prepared script?

Luckily, some of the stars seem to have taken Gervais’ quips with a smile. After commenting that Robert Downey Jr. is probably best known for his stints in prison and rehab, the ever good-humoured RDJ took the stage and made his own risqué (though hilarious) jokes.

Others seem to have not been so happy with the comments. Reports say that several celebrity reps have already been in contact with the producers to voice their complaints.

My final word: It’s Hollywood. Celebrities are in the spotlight, and when they end up making ridiculously stupid decisions (Charlie Sheen’s shenanigans for instance), they can’t expect to escape the inevitable jokes that will be made at their expense.

So Congrats Ricky Gervais! Show well done, and much enjoyed!

Toy Story 3: “For Your Consideration” Campaign

It’s Oscar season, and any movie that was any movie is asking for the academy’s “consideration.” While some campaigns are less organized, such as Justin Timberlake’s personal crusade to gain The Social Network some Oscar glory, Disney has once again pushed the envelope.

Animated films, no matter how amazing, are often overlooked in the Best Picture category. Only twice before have animated films been even considered for the honor– Beauty and the Beast (’97?) and last year’s Up. But Disney’s Toy Story 3 refuses to be ignored. To combat the often neglectful eye of the academy, Disney is running what appears to be an ingenious campaign for Toy Story 3 in an attempt to be considered as a Best Picture nominee.

Disney has released a series of imaginative posters comparing their Toy Story 3 to past Oscar Best Picture winners. Taking scenes from the actual film featuring all our favorites–Woody, Buzz, Jesse–each poster features the tagline “Not since [movie]…”

Spoofs include Lord of the Rings, On the Waterfront, and an all too funny picture of Jesse with the tag “Not Since Annie Hall…”

The website is featured below, and I’ve attached a few pictures to this post. Really, the photos are worth a look…and consideration (whether you’re from the academy or not).

http://www.waltdisneystudiosawards.com/toystory3/photos.php

Not since On the Waterfront…

Not since The Sting…

 

Not since The Sound of Music…

http://www.waltdisneystudiosawards.com/toystory3/photos.php