The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

For this post, I’d like to write about something very close to heart – movies and marketing.  I recently watched “The Greatest Movie ever Sold” and wanted to share my thoughts.


For a documentary whose premise is the intrusiveness of advertisements and product placement in the modern world, Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is itself chalked full of them. When it is done right, as in the case of this movie, product placement becomes a compliment to the film rather than a distraction. The reason for the effectiveness of this movie is that it is a successfully constructed co-promotion built on compatible brand personalities. A brand personality is a set of human characteristics attributed to a brand that a consumer can relate to.

Brand Personalities: Knowing what you can bring to the table

Early on in the documentary, the movie’s creator, Morgan Spurlock, is in search of sponsors to entirely fund his $1.5 million movie. After receiving rejections from some sponsors, Spurlock goes to Olson Zaltman Associates, a company that marries psychoanalysis and marketing, to help find his brand personality.

Once Spurlock discovers what he can bring to the table, Olson Zaltman suggests companies who have a brand personality compatible to his. Two of their suggestions, Mini Cooper and Jet Blue, do sponsor the movie, and in return Spurlock creates advertisements in his movie for Jet Blue and is seen riding around in about a dozen Mini Coopers.

Finding the right match for your promotion

The reason why discovering his brand personality helps make this movie work is that Spurlock was better able to find sponsors who were on-board with the vision of his film. Sponsors like Ban Deodorant, which were interested in the film because they felt Spurlock’s vision fit a small company like theirs, which was trying to be different. Spurlock had a lot of fun with another potential sponsor, Mane ‘n Tail a hair care product line for both humans and animals, which admitted to Spurlock, “the image we want is to keep Mane ‘n Tail fun.”

Finding the right matches to his brand personality also helped Spurlock avoid what he worried might be the biggest obstacle his film would face, getting it approved for release by the sponsors. Luckily, he found the type of sponsors who would be willing to allow the film to be screened at the Sundance Film Festival, and who viewed it there for the first times, rather than just viewing it through a microscope in a corporate boardroom.

“[The companies] got to see it as their involvement as a part of a whole. So by their seeing the audience’s reaction, seeing themselves alongside all those who helped make the movie, it didn’t give them pause. It reinforced why they did it to begin with,” said Spurlock.

If you are a company or an organization involved in a co-promotion, identifying your brand personality from the start can help you find a compatible partner and avoid serious obstacles.


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Nick Seebruch

I am an External writer at ShoutEx. My interest lie in marketing, communications and journalism

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