Morgan Spurlock, the maker of Super Size Me, gets his cake and eats it, too, in his new documentary, Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. Recently screened at Sundance, the film, which opens in April, follows Spurlock as he examines the world of branded entertainment and, in a meta media high-wire act, includes his own attempts to convince marketers to pay for exposure in the feature.
Along the way, Spurlock visits ad execs including Richard Kirshenbaum, chairman of Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners; MediaLink CEO Michael Kassan; @radical.media’s leaders Jon Kamen and Robert Friedman; Electus’ Ben Silverman; and ad attorney Rick Kurnit. Early in the project, Spurlock also interviewed Ogilvy Entertainment president Doug Scott, but he declined to go on camera.
Although nervous about how they’d be portrayed, Kirshenbaum, Kassan and Friedman said they liked Spurlock’s meta concept and decided to play along. Besides, as Scott noted, “it was less of an exposé…[and] more about the art of the deal.”
Fourteen brands bought in, including Pom, JetBlue, Mini Cooper, Hyatt, Ban deodorant and Seventh Generation. Most pledged amounts in the tens of thousands of dollars, but as the title sponsor, Pom reportedly paid $1 million.
In exchange, Spurlock does things like drink POM Wonderful throughout the film, shoot at a JetBlue terminal and drive a Mini Cooper.
All told, Spurlock stands to collect $1.5 million—enough to cover his production costs—if he meets three goals: grossing $10 million at the box office; selling 500,000 copies of the movie via DVDs and digital downloads; and generating 600 million media impressions about the project.
Last week—after a flurry of stories and photos out of Sundance—total impressions had already exceeded 623 million, said a publicist for the film’s distributor, Sony Pictures Classics.