Supersell Me: Brands Have an Ally in Morgan Spurlock


Director Morgan Spurlock is on Sunday night’s episode of Discovery Channel’s Curiosity series (leading a team in a challenge called “I, Caveman”) and has another project, a reality-based web series for Yahoo called The Failure Club, in the works.

But he is also still on a global publicity tour for his recent film, Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, in which the documentarian “sells out.

In the film, iconic consumer advocate Ralph Nader speculates about what might become of the director as he embarks on his commercial adventure. Nader envisions the possibility of a “commercialized, corporatized Morgan Spurlock.”

It appears from the new Ally Bank commercial directed by Spurlock, Nader was more right than he knew.[more]

Part of Spurlock’s gag in Greatest Movie is that he is an artist, a filmmaker who is “selling out” to advertisers and brands. In this respect, Spurlock has thrown himself in with gusto. Spurlock’s Twitter feed remains an unending stream of self promotion for the project and his sponsors like Pom and JetBlue.

But throughout the whole undertaking, it was an unspoken understanding that Spurlock’s “sell out” was done with a wink and nod, so over the top that it bordered on satire. This was, the filmmaker could commercialize himself without actually doing any damage to his reputation as an artist.

Even when he lent his credibility to a straightforward Pom Wonderful ad (for which he may have been hoodwinked), Spurlock’s reputation was none the worse for wear.

Funny then that the filmmaker, and his Twitter feed, has been absolutely mum on the new commercial Spurlock directed for Ally Bank. The reality-style “man on the street” ad (at top) asks what a stranger would do if you asked him to watch a briefcase with $100,000 in it.

An effective ad to be sure. But without any kind of meta-analytical buffer between him and the paycheck, it seems the director is less eager about drawing attention to his commercial patrons.

Speaking of Spurlock, via his Twitter, the director has drawn some attention to one Chicago man who is using the Pom-sponsored film for a unique Halloween project: Greatest Halloween Costume Ever Sold.

It appears he has only secured two sponsors: Extended Stays Hotels and Vogue Tyre. But with a month still to go before his deadline, he would certainly be interested in hearing from you.