If you read food blogs, you probably know that POM Wonderful has been spreading their POM love by giving away their products so folks can write about them.
Not the case here. No POM product given. What I’m talking about is Morgan Spurlock’s film “POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.”
For those of you who have not seen this yet, Morgan essentially shows how he was able to finance a movie about marketing by marketing to the marketers. There is nothing particularly new about this film nor is his trajectory entirely clear, but it is a film worth watching. What gets reaffirmed in the film (though not necessarily reassured) is that money talks. For many in the advertising industry, it’s a different lifestyle, a different mindset. It’s not about the health or well-being of consumers – it’s about the wealth and well-being of corporations. If the corporation bottom line also translates into positive outcomes for the consumer, that’s icing on the cake.
What was interesting about this film is so much of it was marketing about and for – what else? – food. And that comes as no surprise. Some of you may have read the NYTimes April 2011 article about how food companies, such as General Mills, are working on the rules of how to reach children in the Internet age – games, cellphone apps, and social media. In response, Marion Nestle noted that some policy changes to make it easier for parents to manage their children’s food choices are necessary.
What kind of policy changes will impact a food and beverage industry that spends hundreds of millions targeting children? Spurlock was able to buy – BUY – the naming rights to the town of Altoona in Pennsylvania for $25,000. For 60 days, the town will be named after the movie (the money goes to town’s police department). On the other hand, as seen in the film, the city of São Paolo in Brazil has banned all outdoor advertising. No ads on buses. No ads on bilboards. As you can imagine, a lot of marketers were mad.
Does marketing then need to be outright banned or can marketers regulate themselves to truthful and socially responsible advertising? If marketing dollars can buy an entire town and schools become the playground for food corporate “sponsors,” where does the line get drawn?
What made these companies sponsor this film that turned the magnifying glass on them? Check out the movie’s trailer here:
*I even tried to contact one of my favorite brands highlighted in this movie, Merrell, about something else, but no love from them. Not a peep. I still like their products, though.