Looking Back to Sundance


Being back in Newport after a trip out west to Sundance for the acclaimed film festival has given us some time to reflect on what was for us here at Performance Research, the most interesting movie of the festival – “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” by Morgan Spurlock.

While I am sure the majority of you know what the movie is about, for those who do not, here is the recap:

Director Morgan Spurlock completes a successful plight to create a film of which the main subject is corporate product placement in television and movies. Of course, there is a twist, and the twist is he successfully demonstrates how to garner product placement, by cleverly gaining corporate sponsors to fund the very movie (while filming the entire process) being made. Effectively, the movie becomes a ‘how to’ documentary for anyone looking to find corporate support, while also questioning the notion that Hollywood is ‘selling out’.

Now as those of us who are in tune with the world of marketing know, product placement has been around for a long time, and will continue to be part of the world in which we live for the foreseeable future. That being said, while Spurlock’s film does a good job of educating the masses about product placement and how marketers choose to advertise their product, here at Performance Research, the film nudged us to think more about the effectiveness of this tool. This meaning, does product placement work?

Of course, without conducting specific studies into the value of product placement little can be verified, but we do believe many of the same rules we apply to event sponsorship also apply to product placement. The brand must activate and engage the viewers, just like they would attendees at a sporting event or during a mobile marketing unit tour. In doing so, product placement has the potential to become a fruitful form of advertising, reaching the masses, while possibly creating a desire for the product you are pitching.

Spurlock’s movie certainly created a buzz regarding this subject and we imagine it will grow when the film is released nationwide in April. We look forward to watching it again in the spring and in the meantime we will keep our sponsor eye looking for great activation of product placement in film and television.

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