First, Morgan Spurlock gained 25 pounds by eating nothing but McDonald’s for a month in “Super Size Me.” Then he exposed subjects to lifestyles different from their own, from living on minimum wage to spending a month in prison, in the FX show “30 Days.” Now he’s taking the promotion of his latest project to a whole new level by paying a town to change its name to the film’s title.
The documentary “POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and examines product placement and the prominence of advertising in American culture. To emphasize even further the movie’s point about the value placed on consumerism, Spurlock paid the small town of Altoona, Pa., $25,000 to change its name to POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Pa., for 60 days.
Spurlock told the Associated Press this week, “We live in a place and a time when it seems like everything is brought to you by some sponsor. It starts to become this question of, ‘Where does it end?'”
In a bit of typical Spurlock irony, his film about branding and product placement is financed through sponsors, including JetBlue, Trident and Old Navy. Sheetz convenience store chain, another of the film’s sponsors, is based in Altoona, which also served as the film’s East Coast premiere site as part of the deal. The Altoona City Council approved the ceremonial name change, and the town will give the $25,000 to the police department.
What do you think? Is Spurlock’s latest stunt a silly marketing ploy, or a genius way to prove his point? Sound off in the comments section.
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