The layers between marketing and the customer are stripped back this week with the release of Morgan Spurlock’s new film The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. Brand Republic interviewed him here earlier this month (http://www.mediaweek.co.uk/news/1096732/Video-Morgan-Spurlock-turned-camera-adland-BR-asks-liked-saw/?DCMP=ILC-SEARCH).
Spurlock’s intention is to lay bare the relationship between brands and content. He says in the interview that he first tried to get in touch with ad agencies and product placement companies but that they wouldn’t co-operate with him. He then started cold calling brands and eventually out of over 600 approaches 15 agreed to be involved with the film.
I think those brand decision makers are brave people. We all know what we can expect from Spurlock (maker of Supersize Me). The warm spotlight of attention is an enticing idea for all media attention seekers (and lets face it which of us is not one of those – isn’t that one reason we’re in this business in the first place what with awards, lunches and constant pitches ?) However the editing of the filming will always be out of your control and your portrayal is dependent on the whim of the film maker. I know some people who were featured in a TV documentary about St Lukes. They rarely speak of it or if they do they change the subject fast. Spurlock’s camera is bound to be even colder than that one was.
Spurlock is a controversial figure. One of the things he says in his interview with Rich Sutcliffe really resonates though. He comments that marketers need to develop a “transparent relationship with people who buy the product”. I completely agree. With Spurlock and others like him leading the way, there is literally no limit to what will be known or found out about a brand. Most of us turn to a search engine for information and the search engines are great at delivering transparency, and very bad at covering things up. Honesty is our best marketing tool by far.
In the spirit of total transparency I should disclose that I’ve written a book on the subject with Jonathan Salem Baskin which covers this in much more detail. My book Tell The Truth is available for pre-order at amazon.co.uk, Barnes and Noble and all good booksellers.