BrandGeek Presents the Greatest Blog on Earth

Posted by | April 26, 2011 | General | No Comments

I love Morgan Spurlock!  Not because he’s always right (though I often think he is) but because he likes to make me think.  I like to think.

Morgan’s newest documentary is Pom Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (Greatest Movie).  This documentary examines product placement in films, something of great interest to brand protectors like myself.  The Greatest Movie is an eye-opening and entertaining look at the subtleties (which are not always so subtle) of product placement in modern day motion pictures.  As its tagline boasts, “He’s Not Selling Out, He’s Buying In.”

I got to see the Greatest Movie at the post-TED weekend gathering in Palm Springs earlier this year.  Having been waylaid by the flu for the prior 3 days of the conference, I did not make it to to the bar after the screening for what Morgan called an “informal Q&A.”  Oh, how I wish I’d been healthy!  Ironically, knowing nothing of Morgan’s film, I e-mailed filmmaker (and Flash Mob coordinator extraordinaire) Kenneth Hughes before attending TEDActive to ask if he’d make time during the conference to chat with me about product placement, which he did.  Together we pondered the viability of transparent “green” product placement, agreeing that there would be heaps of challenges in the pursuit of such a model.

But back to Morgan’s film.  The Greatest Movie documents Spurlock’s quest to fund a film about product placement through product placement within the film.  Genius!  Or Insane!  Probably a little bit of both.  After more than his fair share of rejection and struggle, Morgan ultimately manages to line up properties that aren’t exactly small potatoes; there’s Hyatt, Jet Blue, and, of course, Pom Wonderful, among others.  What I liked most about the Greatest Movie is that the product placement within it isn’t sneaky, under the radar, hoping you don’t consciously notice, like most product placement is.  In fact, not once during the Greatest Movie did I feel deceived knowing that a brand owner paid for its product to be there.  The product placement in the Greatest Movie is over the top and in your face; almost every scene contains blatant encouragement for you to purchase the products that funded the movie.  You know what?  It works!

When crafting your marketing plan consider not just how many “impressions” your brand will receive, but also the type of impression it will make.  Product placement in entertainment properties irks me.  I avoid products that I believe are surreptitiously placed to garner my favor.  The brands in The Greatest Movie Ever Sold shed light on product placement, while poking fun at themselves, through which they’ve earned my business, just as intended.

About Lara

Lara Pearson is a trademark attorney with Exemplar, where she also serves as the firm's Sustainability Steward. Lara's legal practice focuses on trademark and copyright law, including: intellectual property audits; trademark search & clearance; trademark and copyright registration & maintenance; intellectual property transfers; transactional work; and dispute resolution, including litigation when necessary. Lara primarily represents other social enterprises -- those leveraging their businesses and brands as catalysts for positive social and environmental change. Such businesses engage in CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) to have a positive "triple bottom line" of people, planet and profit. As Exemplar's Sustainability Steward, Lara works with others in her law firm to measure and reduce the firm's carbon emissions and encourage engagement in social responsibility initiatives, including pro bono legal work and volunteering. Lara is a proud member of the Social Venture Network. Brand Geek is a member of 1% for the Planet and a Certified B Corporation, whose Incline Village office is certified under the regional Keep the Sierra Green program. Exemplar Companies is the most innovative professional services firm in the New Economy. Our unique, diversified expertise spans the disciplines of corporate law, business advisory, and capital/investment banking to better meet the needs of our high-potential customers. We have assembled a comprehensive suite of service to meet the complex issues facing companies in today’s challenging business environment. Our unique, holistic approach ensures the growth and success – and greatly increases the competitive advantage - of our customers. The Exemplar team is comprised of knowledgeable, highly skilled experts in a wide range of industries and disciplines. They work closely with our customers to provide trusted advice, incomparable support, expert guidance and the ultimate competitive advantage as they accelerate their businesses and position themselves to transform industries.

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