Commentary - Pom Wonderful presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Jerry: ...Over the balcony, bounced off some respirator thing into the patient!
George: What do you mean "into the patient"?
Jerry: Into the patient, literally!
George: Into the hole?
Jerry: Yes, the hole!
George: Didn't they notice it?
Jerry: No!
George: How could they not notice it?!?
Jerry: Because it's a little mint. It's a Junior Mint.
George: What did they do?
Jerry: They sealed him up with the mint inside.
George: They left the Junior Mint in him?
Jerry: Yes!
George: I guess it can't hurt him... People eat pounds of those things.
Jerry: They eat them, they don't put them next to vital organs in their abdominal cavity!

What Seinfeld fan doesn't love this "Mulva" episode, but I have always wondered, did Junior Mints like the Seinfeld writers using their product in this way? or did they actually pay the TV show/network to have their product featured so memorably?  This we may never know, but if you're interested in the inner workings of brand integration in entertainment, than you've gotta see Pom Wonderful presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.

Writer/Director Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) has delivered a witty, insightful, pioneering and entertaining documentary which delves into the prevalent and ubiquitous world of product placement, cross promotion, media impressions and asks the question, is there truth in advertising?

His idea for the film actually came from an episode of the show Heroes, in which Hayden Panettiere's character receives a Nissan Rogue SUV for her birthday - the keys, the car, the name is displayed as if it were up for bid on The Price is Right. The displacement of being force fed a commercial in the middle of a favorite show, gave Spurlock one of those light bulb moments.  And so, technically the Nissan Rogue can take credit for The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, even though it's not one of the 22 sponsors of the film.

Now, if I say Nissan Rogue a few more times and link to the product, can I have one?

What I like most about this documentary is Spurlock himself. One scene in the film has him going through a rigorous Q & A session with a brand specialist to come up with his own brand in order to sell himself to the brands he wants to sell the movie to. (make sense?) Anyway, what they come up with is that Spurlock's own brand is Mindful and Playful, and this is a very good assessment.  He does care about this subject matter, it's affect on society, the right and wrong of it, the question of selling out or buying in?  But he's able to explore the matter with great humor. And not acerbic, sarcastic humor, rather with mirth and cleverness, he's able to brings a sense of fun to the topic. And he's an excellent pitch man, he approaches each brand meeting as if he's been working on Madison Ave for years; while remaining open enough to let the film take him on a journey, and still maintain a firm hold on the reins.

And those reins include keeping creative control away from the brands and corporations. None of the sponsors got final approval of the movie, of course they did try, can't blame a company for trying, but Spurlock and his team pushed back and won.  To the brands credit, they all became a real partner in the film by allowing the doc to show the inner workings of how these deals are made, including dollars and cents.

Although Pom Wonderful (pomegranate juice) gets top billing as the film's million dollar sponsor, the shampoo Mane 'n Tail got the best deal. They have a policy of not paying for product placement and did not pay to be in the film. Yet, they allowed Spurlock to have some fun with their product and the results are hilarious, giving Mane 'n Tail really excellent exposure in a "mindful/playful" manner.

PFS was invited to a round table interview with Morgan Spurlock at, where else? The Hyatt at the Bellevue. And I love it when they send me, as blog contributor extraordinaire, to cover these interviews

Below are excerpts from our discussion:

Q: There's a lot of great pitches and funny bits in the film, was there anything you pitched to a brand that they adamantly refused, that didn't get into the movie?

A: We shot 375 hours of footage, so we have a lot of great stuff to put on the DVD, but most of the pitches got into the film.  Except we did pitched Hyatt a musical number with big dance sequences through the hotel; but soon realized we couldn't pull this off for $100,000 and had to kill it.

Q: You were really comfortable doing the pitch segments, do you have a background in marketing?

A: For three years I was the face of Sony electronics for their promotional tours. I was on the road with them when they launched Sony Audio Sound, Sony Playstation, Sony computers, every year they had a new product coming out. I did tradeshows, college shows, sporting events. Because Sony was sponsoring sporting events like the Bud Light Pro-Beach Volleyball and the X-Games, I started announcing the games and doing on camera stuff for ESPN and Fox Sports, I announced beach volleyball at the Olympics in '96, the Goodwill Games in '98.

A cont: Sony said they wanted to make a video about the tour and I said I went to film school, so I could do that, then the projects just kept getting larger and larger.  I went back to NY in '98 and started my production company, which was basically a web based production company. The idea was to capitalize on what was happening with the internet, to create programs online and springboard them off to sell to film and television. So we sold the show I Bet You Will  to MTV, which was the first show ever to go from web to TV.  Then when that show got canceled, we had about 50 grand left and took that money to make Super Size Me.

Q: What was the asking price to get Altoona PA to agree to rename their town?

A: $25,000, so on April 27th we will have a ceremony in Altoona where I will present the Mayor with a check and he will change the town's name for the next 60 days to Pom Wonderful presents the Greatest Movie Ever Sold.

Q: Did any brands come back to you later and want to be apart of the movie?

A:  Old Navy originally said no. Their CMO, Amy Curtis McEntire was at Sundance, well she had been the CMO of Hyatt, she got Hyatt on board, left Hyatt and went to Old Navy. At Sundance she got some of the suits to see the film and then they said, "we want in". So we replaced Google Chrome, who were stalling, with Old Navy.

Q: Were their any directors who criticized you and gave you grief about doing this film?

A: No. There were directors I wanted to talk to like Michael Bay (Transformers) and Jon Faveau (Iron Man), who I couldn't get because of schedules and timing. I really wanted to talk to an A-list actor, someone who in the middle of a scene has had to hold that beverage, and do something so completely blatantly obvious. But we couldn't get anyone to talk to us or even to comment on it, which is kinda mind blowing.

Q: Isn't there a place for co-promotion and product placement in some big budget movies?

A: Well, yeah, that's the whole Peter Berg (director) conversation, he's now doing a movie called Battleship, the board game being turned into a 200 million dollar space/war movie. So this is a 200 million dollar gamble the studio is making; they want to make movies, but they don't give a f*&# about art, they want money coming back. The marketing budget for a movie of this size is at least 75 million, but they will do everything they can do to create a marketing campaign around it that they don't have to pay for to lessen that burden. Mainly, McDonald's Happy Meals, this is the feather in your cap of co-promotion. 1 in 6 meals sold at McDonald's is a Happy Meal, and McDonald's already knows what the Happy Meals co-promotion will be two years in advance.

Q: Wouldn't if have been ironic if you used McDonald's in this film?

A: We went to McDonald's, they didn't call us back. Well if you're going to make a "DocBuster" you have to have a fast food partner, so we called all the fast food chains and none of them wanted anything to do with it, so then we said, well, we need a Slurpee, a collector's cup, so we called Wawa, 7-Eleven, Circle K, none of them wanted in, so somebody said, "what about Sheetz"? Sure enough Sheetz said yes!

A cont: But one of the things that I really wanted to have happen in this film was to have companies come in that people might have real ethical dilemmas about their inclusion. McDonald's would have been much more a dilemma for me than for you. But we called BP, said "Hey, you guys need some positive press", but they didn't want to do it. We called gun manufacturers. Hyatt's contract included a clause that said I couldn't have illegal firearms in the hotel, so I thought if we have a gun manufacturer, we could have me in my hotel room cleaning a legal firearm, but we couldn't get one. One of the things we tried to do was push our boundaries of what the contracts would say as close as we could. To walk that line of being on their side and being on our side and I think the film does a good job of that.

 On a side note: It took 2 years off and on to complete the film, with the last 20-25 minutes being shot within weeks of opening at Sundance. 11 of the 22 brands saw the movie for the first time with the Sundance audience and the brands were given a standing ovation. There are 4 incarnations of Spurlock's promotional suit. And yes, each member of the press at the round table received a bottle of Pom Wonderful, I took two!

Philly Events Calendar

ADD YOUR EVENT for FREE! - which includes SOCIAL MEDIA BLASTS!  Click AGENDA VIEW to see complete list of happenings.

Featured Post


Tinsel & Tine Winners for Preview Screening Contest Guest on The LAMB Podcast Lambcast #470: CAPTAIN MARVEL w/ Rich Kirkh...

Food n Film: BURNT

Food n Film: BURNT
Bradley Cooper has more than charisma, he has an over abundance of Chi, which radiates out from him; so for me, this role as temperamental and damaged chef Adam Jones, who also inspires great love and admiration from those around him, works on the level of characterization. In fact, I think he's among a very short list of actors who would be able to pull off being so self-involved and yet likable. Doesn't hurt that he really speaks French too! READ POST

Food n Film: CHEF

Food n Film: CHEF
Much of the movie centers around the father/son relationship, and how much they learn from each other. But the real star of the film is all the food preparation, every other scene made me groan with want of everything up on that screen! Particularly the perfectly roasted and rubbed brisket, the crispy fat of the pork belly, sizzling bacon and the much ballyhooed Chocolate Lava Cake. READ POST


The key to deciphering both the city it beautifully depicts and the man who eats it best - City of Gold

By Tinsel & Tine Contributor Denine Gorniak (The Bicycle-Chef)

What Jonathan Gold, Los Angeles Times food critic/writer, has done for food writing journalism and for the restaurants that he loves, the movie, City of Gold has done for Jonathan Gold and Los Angeles and its surrounding environs – it has planted taco covered kisses on them... READ POST

Food n Film: CHOCOLAT

Food n Film: CHOCOLAT
If you’re a foodie movie lover who saw Lasse Hallström’s The Hundred Foot Journey (see T&T post), this summer you may be wondering what delicious visual journey might be awaiting you in the theater next. Well, how about a look back at his film Chocolat (2000), which stars French actress Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench and Johnny Depp. Hallström’s has a special talent for turning cooking into a dramatic movie journey...READ MORE


...young Hassan, a soulful-eyed boy with lush, thick eye lashes, places his face into the sea urchin basket, and breathes in the exotic briny scent. He sticks his fingers into the aquatic ooze, takes it to his mouth and is transfixed by the taste. The vendor, oblivious to the thrusting arms of frenzied women, notices the boy and realizes he is the only one worthy of this oceanic prize; he is the one who can “truly taste.” ... READ MORE

Food n Film: JULIE & JULIA

Food n Film: JULIE & JULIA
Personally, I like the unevenness of it, because I fell in love with the post World War II, Parisian sights, sounds, food and romance between Julia and Paul. I always felt a bit jarred back into reality when the scenes returned to Julie's meltdowns and cramped kitchen.READ POST

Food n Film: EAT PRAY LOVE

Food n Film: EAT PRAY LOVE
Six months into my 38th year of this life, I had my first panic attack. I didn't know that's what it was until months later. Symptom after symptom starting piling up on me until there were days I could no longer move my arms or neck. The doctors told me I was suffering from an auto-immune condition that they felt was most likely Lupus. And so began my much deeper journey and exploration into the world of spirit, alternative medicine, yoga, meditation and Eat, Pray, Love. READ POST


With a film like this, food plays a main character in the story and I was lucky enough to get an interview with the film's Food Stylist, Janine Kalesis.READ POST

Food n Film: WAITRESS

Food n Film: WAITRESS
In this 2007 film, Keri Russell stars as Jenna - a desolate diner waitress seeking solace in the art of pie-making. Trapped in an unhappy marriage, she’s eager to escape her husband and her small-town hell and sets about to make a run for it by entering an out of town pie baking contest. READ POST


Those of us in attendance were not only given the opportunity to see Babette's Feast, the Oscar winning, Danish film, considered one of the all-time great "food films"; we also got to taste Babette's menu! READ POST


I participated in WalkMS Philly on 4/30/16
Thank you to the readers who donated to the cause - It's not too late to support! Click badge below

15 Top Food in Film Flicks

15 Top Food in Film Flicks
Cozy Quilt of Food Movies, we'll add more patches as T &T discovers more films where food plays the biggest "roll"

Tinsel & Tine on

Tinsel & Tine on
Really love this platform, you feature your stuff and other people's stuff you follow, and it all configures like the front page of a newspaper. Click to see what I mean

Visit Our YouTube Channel

Visit Our YouTube Channel
View Q & A's with visiting Filmmakers to Philly

Philly Food and Film

Videographer Oliver Gallini 5 min short featuring organic-chemist-turned-chef, Townsend Wentz, who got his start at The Four Seasons Philadelphia.


Cross Content Blogs


Large Association of Movie Blogs

Tinsel & Tine was nominated for a VBA



group of 10,000 women bloggers dedicated to supporting one another by leaving comments

Women Online

The Blogstress Network

The Blogstress Network
Female Bloggers Unite

Contributor from 2010 - 2012

About This Blog

is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

Camera Tips


  © Blogger template On The Road by 2009

Back to TOP