Capone's commercial-free interview with POM WONDERFUL PRESENTS THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER SOLD's writer-director-star Morgan Spurlock!!!
Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.
Director Morgan Spurlock might make the most accessible documentaries out there. He finds a way a weaving the message of his films with some of the most entertaining, self-narrated examples of his themes. He doesn't ask others to do his dirty work. He puts himself in front of the camera, taking all the risk to health (SUPER SIZE ME), body (WHERE IN THE WORLD IS OSAMA BIN LADEN), and dignit, as in his latest film THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER SOLD, in which Spurlock personally pitches hundreds of corporations and brand-named products to become sponsors for the very documentary we're watching. The process and results are fascinating, and what Spurlock discovers about the state of marketing, product placement, and advertising is a real eye-opener.
Spurlock was in Chicago recently, wearing a lovely sports coats emblazened with the logos of all of his sponsors, including the juice company POM Wonderful, which purchased for $1 million the name rights to the movie, which is technically POM WONDERFUL PRESENTS THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER SOLD. He's also always a great interview, and we've spoken a few times in the past, but this marks the first time we've actually sat down in person to chat, which we did the morning after a sold-out Q&A screening. While I had a captive audience with Spurlock, I also got a chance to get a preview of his upcoming doc on Comic-Con, co-produced by our own Harry Knowles.
Please enjoy, the comedy stylings and storytelling marvel that is Morgan Spurlock…
Capone: It’s good to see you. It sounds like you really hung out for a while last night after all was said and done.
Morgan Spurlock: I talked to every person who was there and even people who weren’t there, just people who were handing out in the bar.
Capone: Just on the way out?
MS: Yeah, it was great. I’m sorry, I’m eating my bacon…
Capone: You are not the first to eat breakfast during an interview. I asked a question on the site for people to get tickets to the screening, so I'll ask you: what is the most egregious product placement examples that you could think of…
MS: What was number one?
Capone: A lot of people brought up what they did with WAYNE'S WORLD, but that was more of a joke about product placement than anything.
MS: That’s like "30 Rock" and what they do all the time.
Capone: Then of course E.T.
MS: MAC AND ME was by far the worst.
Capone: See, no one brought up MAC AND ME.
MS: MAC AND ME is the most terrible example.
Capone: Does that even count as product placement when the entire movie is product placement?
MS: The movie is product placement.
Capone: I was about to say, “Does that even count?”
MS: YOU’VE GOT MAIL?
Capone: That was definitely in there, yeah.
Capone: It seemed like there was a time when the studios used to go to certain products and say “We would like to use you in our movie,” like they did in E.T.--because I remember that whole story about going to M&Ms first--to this other thing where the products are coming to the studios and saying, “What can we do?” When did that changeover happen, and why did it happen?
MS: I think that E.T. was a big switch for that, because you had a company that literally built a brand. Reese's Pieces became a brand out of that movie. They became something real, like real product. They were just this thing sitting on a shelf up until then. I was 12 years old, I loved M&Ms, and I loved Reece's Peanut Butter Cups, so all of a sudden it was like, “Oh my God, two things that I love in one!” I remember after the movie I was like “Mom, we’ve got to stop and get some Reese's Pieces on the way home,” and we did. So, it literally worked on me, like literally the next day there were Reese's Pieces in my house after seeing E.T.
So, I think that that was a real kind of wake-up call as to what was possible. I think that and even just for the merchandising, which is a separate thing in and of itself, of STAR WARS. The way that George Lucas turned STAR WARS into what it became, this toy machine, this franchise machine. I think of STAR WARS on the level of how you merchandise a film into E.T. where it’s you putting products in a film and they became viable. I literally think those two things were real paradigm-shifting moments.
Capone: But I don’t remember Reese's putting E.T. on there bags after that. That was unprecedented.
MS: They had to have.
Capone: I just don’t remember that. If they did, it had to be after the movie was long out. I certainly don't remember any pre-release marketing.
MS: There has to have been. How could there not have been an E.T. on a Reese's bag. Maybe not you know, maybe it was literally just the product.
Capone: I don’t think they were prepared for it.
MS: That’s true.
Capone: I think that’s what it keeps coming back to. Was there a point while you were in the early stages of this film where you…
MS: Where I was like, “This is never going to work?” [Laughs]
Capone: Yeah, where you were discouraged to the point where you were like “Okay, next idea…”
MS: Yeah, right? Throughout the whole process. When every advertising agency you call tells you they don’t want to work with you and that they don’t want to go on camera to talk about the movie, or every product placement company says, “We are not going to help you.” And we met with probably a dozen that would actually even sit down and talk with us, and only two would go on camera. So then when you start calling brands, and the CMOs [chief marketing officers] of all of these companies are like, “Absolutely not. We want nothing to do with this.” The thing that literally kept us going was the people who work for all of those people at the top who said no.
As we called, people who worked for these giant corporations and these companies and they would say, “I will do anything to help you that won’t get me fired.” [Laughs] All of that bubbling underneath, all of those people wanted this film to happen while the people at the top didn’t, I think that was the only thing at the top that kept us going.
Capone: I almost brought this up last night just because I figured the people here in Chicago would remember it, but there was always a phenomenon in movies maybe 10 or 15 years ago that were made in Chicago and any time they showed an L train, on platform there would be a Coke machine, and at the time there were no vending machines on L platforms. Now, reality has followed art and now they are there, because the transit authority is so broke that they will take money from anyone now. So there are Coke machines at every station. But that was always funny, like you would see something like WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING, and the machines were always there.
MS: Wow, that’s incredible. Have the people who brought the parking meter rights, have they turned the parking meters into advertising poles yet?
Capone: I don’t think so. I don’t think they have done that.
MS: My prediction is that’s going to happen. On all of those parking meters, there will start to be little ads.
Capone: Maybe, and now that’s its not city owned anymore it’s entirely possible. They shot a huge chunk of TRANSFORMERS 3 here last summer, and again that’s basically a commercial for Hasbro. In fact, it just so happened that the day that I was there, the Hasbro CEO was there just visiting with his daughter. But they were shooting in this sort of outdoor parking garage and there were suddenly billboards everyone that had never been there, on every flat surface there was a logo.
MS: We called Michael Bay and tried to talk him into the movie.
Capone: Yeah I wondered about that.
MS: Of course, who are you going to call? Of course you’re going to talk to that guy. The guy who made THE ISLAND. The guy who made TRANSFORMERS 1, 2, 3. I had to, but we couldn’t get him. He was shooting TRANSFORMERS, so I’ll give him that as the out, but we tried to talk to A-list actors too. That was the big one, like I really wanted to talk to actors who in movies were forced to go [pretends to drink something while delivering dialogue] “I agree,” you know?
Capone: That would have been really interesting to hear what one of those guys would say.
MS: They would not go on camera.
Capone: I can’t imagine there’s a single one of them that enjoys doing that.
MS: And we could not get anybody to talk with us.
Capone: That’s pretty telling. That was a really interesting think you said yesterday about how audiences who see this are going to see these product placements all of the time now, whereas before they kind of ignore them as something in the noise of the background.
MS: That’s right, it literally takes away the noise in the film a lot of ways.
Capone: Or will it distract them from this point forward?
MS: Well, I think it will distract. I think it distracts in a way where literally it’s like somebody pulled the veil away, and you see the forest for the trees, like “Oh my God, there’s a forest right there. I would never have even seen that.” I think that it’s a great thing to be aware. I don’t think it will like take away your enjoyment, but I think it will ultimately make you notice how much you are being sold to everyday. And it’s not only in movies and TV, but you will see it everywhere now, you will become incredibly aware of how much marketing is around you.
Capone: Especially after you do that segment about Sao Paulo. It was really fascinating, because I hadn’t heard about that and that would never fly in this country. That’s never going to happen in this country.
MS: I think there will be some city after this film comes out that will do it, like a Portland, Seattle, maybe San Francisco, Miami. It would never happen in New York or Chicago. Definitely will never happen in Los Angeles. Could you imagine driving down Sunset Blvd, and suddenly all of those billboards are gone?
And Los Angeles would be the best representative of Sao Paulo, because of the sprawl. It’s a gigantic city, just like Sao Paulo is; it’s massive and the thing about it is, can you imagine “What would L.A. be like with no advertising?” It is a place that has as really beautiful landscape, like L.A. on a day when there’s no smog and it has just great and there’s blue skies it’s just fantastic, and I can’t even imagine driving down the road or into Hollywood and suddenly there’s no billboards anywhere. You would have such a different interaction with that city if there wasn’t advertising.
Capone: Probably the part of this film that made me the most uncomfortable was the section about the…
MS: The school section?
Capone: Yeah, and I’m sure that gets to a lot of people, but again I’m not in school. I know some people that are teachers, but I don’t think they have that TV channel…
MS: Channel 1.
Capone: That is the place where you say, “Wow, there has to be a line.” There should be, but there’s not.
MS: You are absolutely right, there should be a line and that’s why one of my favorite conversations in the whole film is one we had with Janet who is the one who sells sponsorships in Broward County School District, and so I said “Why are people upset about this?” and she says “Well because school is meant to be sacred. It’s meant to be this place where kids can come in, develop their own view points and ideology about the world.”
Ultimately, what you realize, through this film or what I realized making this film, is that nothing is sacred. We live in a place that if you are captive for one minute somewhere, someone is going to try to market to you there--elevator, gas pump, urinal, you name it, we are going to advertise to you in this space. And schools ultimately being the one place where I agree, “Where do we draw the line?” Here’s what’s also happening in New York now, so now in New York it’s like, “Do we have to live in a world where everything is brought to us by a sponsor?” That’s where we are going, and it’s not just about a documentary film, it’s about stadiums. Do you remember when stadiums used to be named after people?
Capone: Or the city…
MS: Yeah, or the city. So now in New York, we just sold the Atlantic Ave. Subway station to Barclays, so now it’s going to be the Barclays [Center] station. I don’t know what the full name is going to be, but they bought the naming rights to that subway station.
Capone: I don’t know if they bought the name rights, but there’s one not too far from here where it’s an Apple store right over one of the subway stations, and they took over, they remodeled it, and every scrap of advertising is Apple related.
MS: Incredible. So, the city council in New York also just passed a law where they are going to start selling off the naming rights to parks and playgrounds. Where do we draw the line? Do I want to take my kid to the “Pepsi Playground”? Do I want to take him down the “Hostess Twinkie Slide”? I personally don’t.
Capone: The one student, that girl you talk to, has the line about how “Schools are supposed to be places where we learn to think and not be told what to think” and that’s it, that’s perfect. That’s all you need.
MS: I love that line. I hope she’s at Vasser or somewhere right now.
Capone: I love that she just goes “Oh some guy in the 1800s said this…”
MS: It was incredible. [Laughs]
Capone: I did want to ask, because you are working with Harry [Knowles], about the Comic-Con documentary.
MS: I just watched a cut on the way here.
Capone: He’s been sort of keeping me updated about it over the last year.
MS: I saw him at SXSW, and he was like, “When am I going to see a cut of the film?” I’m like “Soon, very soon.”
Capone: So, what is the approach that you are going to take there, because he kind of told me that you solicited some individuals.
MS: The whole goal for us was to follow people who were all coming to Comic-Con for very different reasons and kind of see this “Geek Mecca,” and being someone who grew up loving comic books, what that place is about means so much to me. So, what I want to do is just make sure we are true to what it means and so I wanted to make sure we see through the lives and interactions of people who are coming there for very specific purposes, a collector, a comic book salesman, or a guy who’s been selling comics for like 50 years, somebody who wants to be an artist who draws comics…
Capone: That would be a great vantage point.
MS: Yeah, and so it’s cool to kind of see them come into this place, some of them for the first time. Yeah, it’s cool.
Capone: When do you think that will make it out?
MS: We are banging away, and hopefully we will be done in the next couple of months.
Capone: Are you going to have a chance to screen it at Comic-Con this year?
MS: We were talking about that and ultimately it’s a conversation I need to have with Harry and [producers] Stan [Lee] and Joss [Whedon] as well as Thomas Tull who is our producing partner on the film is “Do we want to screen the whole film at Comic-Con, or do we want to show a piece at Comic-Con?” Either way, we have to do something, because we made a book as well. We made a photo book. So we did all of these interviews with people and we took pictures, and so we created like the yearbook we all wish we would have had where it literally goes from Guillermo Del Toro to Eli Roth to of course Stan and Joss in the photo book with quotes. And then there are people in costumes or people who brought their grandmother and people who are there with their kids for the first time. It’s cool.
Capone: Yeah, the generational aspect will be a nice touch.
MS: It’s like people like us who are now taking our kids there. I remember when I took my kid to the Comic-Con in New York, he was a little freaked out at first and wanted me to carry him around. He was so excited to see Darth Vader and the stormtroopers, although he’s a little scared to see them in person. So, I have this great picture of me holding him with Darth Vader and the stormtroopers, and he’s looking at them. Now all he wants to do is go. When he knows that the comic book convention is coming he’s like “Daddy are we going to go to Comic Con?” He wants to go to the one in San Diego this year, it’s cool.
Capone: That’s going to blow his mind. That still scares me.
MS: For me like I’m exhausted after like two hours. The mind fuck for a like a four year old, I can’t even imagine. He’s going to be fried.
Capone: We were talking before about “crossing the line,” that neuromarketing thing…
MS: How crazy is that? It’s scary.
Capone: You did that…
MS: I believe it. I believe it works.
Capone: Shouldn’t our responses to certain things be a little bit of a mystery? That almost takes the fun out of advertising.
MS: That’s the whole thing, it let’s you know that literally that advertising businesses are always one step ahead. It’s almost like pre-cog marketing.
Capone: Had you told me about that ten years ago, I would have gone, “That’s a great sci-fi, near-future idea.”
MS: And the fact that that’s actually happening is unbelievable.
Capone: You’ve tackled more serious subjects in some of your other films, what is the biggest problem you have with this practice?
MS: [Laughs] I think the biggest problem I have is when it’s so completely in my face. I hate that. I understand the whole idea of like you are making a $200 million dollar movie, the necessity of co-promotion and the necessity of making sure that people know that the film is out there, and so that’s why you have your toys in Happy Meals and you have the T-shirts out and the collector cups and the Slurpees in a 7-11. But I think for me what I ultimately think should happen is they have to kick all of these companies out of the writers' room. You have to let them stop having say in how things were integrated in film and television and let creative people be creative.
Capone: That story about the Alka-Seltzer joke almost leading to getting all the cars from a film pulled was a little awful. (Laughs)
MS: Wasn’t that incredible?
MS: It just goes to show you how much power there exists there, and that’s the one thing that I don’t think people understand--you do because you’ve been covering and talking about films forever and been a fan forever--but people don’t understand like the whole idea. There are people who paid to be in my film, but then there are people who pay a guy just to make sure that their shit gets in movies. So what he does is like a prop master pulls up, he fills the truck with Dyson vacuum cleaners and Ray Bans and Heinekens and then when they are on set, and they're like, “Hey, we need a beer.” “I’ve got some Heineken on the truck,” and suddenly Heineken is in the scene. More precisely, Heineken paid somebody else to make sure they were in that scene, which is amazing to think about.
Capone: I remember for years when PCs were everyone’s favorite computer in the real world, but Apple was in every movie, like everyone had an Apple computer and they always. I literally think the reason they have that glowing apple on the back of every computer is so that it shows up in a movie or TV show and you know that’s what it is, it’s not just a sticker, it’s a light that you can’t miss.
MS: And they were so smart about their brand identity of how they kind of associated themselves with things, so if you ever see a scientist--scientists don't use a Mac; the scientist is on a PC. If you see anybody who works in an architecture firm or is a musician or an artist, anyone who is creative always works on a Mac.
Capone: Absolutely. So right now, I believe, some of the claims in your Pom commercial are being taken to task.
MS: The FTC [Federal Trade Commission] is actually suing POM right now, oh yeah.
Capone: So, clearly your movie is presenting them in a very good light while they are going through this.
MS: Well I think that's part of it, and when you talk about this idea of integrity being for sale, when you see me on the billboard at the end I’m holding the sign in front of my garage where it’s not this, but it says like “Integrity for sale.” Ultimately, that’s part of what this film explores, this idea of associating yourself with something positive to distract from another conversation, and I think that’s one of the conversations.
Capone: Can you retell the story you mentioned last night about the commercial for POM that is not in the film?
MS: Oh yeah, so we pitched this commercial for them, which is they have had studies done to show that apparently POM is 40 percent as effective as Viagra. So, I said, “We have to pitch a commercial around that,” and so literally I pitched this spot to them where are the end of the spot I’m talking to them and I have this giant erection in my pants, and they completely shot that commercial down, but I said, “We still have to make this. We have to shoot this commercial,” which we did. We shot it on a soundstage in New York, and I originally wanted to put that commercial on after the end credits and then couldn’t ultimately because we already had the film rated by the MPAA, and I didn’t want to tell the MPAA that, “Oh by the way we added this thing at the end of the credits, you should definitely watch that.” Suddenly my PG-13 is out the window. [Laughs]
Capone: Did you ever really think that POM would go for that commercial?
MS: They signed onto this movie, so I knew they were willing to take a risk and take a chance, so I was like “Fuck it, why not? Let’s try.”
Capone: You mentioned to them in the movie that it would be more of a web-based commercial, like a viral thing.
MS: Well, I knew they wouldn’t put it up on television, so I saw it as like a “But can you imagine if we put this thing on the web? Think how great that will be.”
Capone: You were also at SXSW promoting a film that you produced. Can you talk a bit about that?
MS: THE OTHER F WORD. Andrea [Blaugrund] and Cristan Reilly, the ladies who produced and directed that film, called me very early on, right after they optioned the book. The whole film is based on a book by Jin Lindberg, the lead singer of Pennywise, called PUNK ROCK DAD. His story is about being a punk rock father, saying “Fuck authority” for years and then suddenly he became the authority, and now it’s like “What do I do?” The film’s this incredible look at fatherhood. I think it’s one of the most beautiful films about fatherhood that I’ve ever seen. I was so excited to be associated with it, to help them find money, to help them get their movie made, and it’s great. It’s like here are all of these rock stars and punk rock dads who ultimately you think would be the worst fathers ever who I think are the most attentive dads who so make it a point to be good fathers. It’s pretty inspiring.
Capone: Has it been picked up?
MS: Not yet. There were about four buyers circling it out at SXSW, and so hopefully that will happen soon.
Capone: Alright good. Morgan, thanks.
MS: This was great. It’s an absolute pleasure to see you in person.
Capone: Thanks. I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with for this Comic-Con doc.
MS: It’s going to be good.
Capone: Harry has been telling me about those submissions for people that wanted to get followed, he just went through telling me about all of the people that had all of these heartbreaking stories.
MS: Some of them were unbelievable.
Capone: Well, thanks a lot.
[As Capone leaves, a representative asks if he would like POM to go.]
MS: You have to.
Capone: I probably should. I drank my other one during the Q&A last night. Thanks.
-- Capone firstname.lastname@example.org
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April 18, 2011, 12:16 a.m. CST
apparently he's a standup fella, real nice and was genuinely excited and greatful that someone knew him and his work.
April 18, 2011, 1:01 a.m. CST
And have been for years. I've been involved in various aspects of desktop support for scientists since '99. The entire reason I got hired is because I had Macintosh experience and all of the labs I ended up supporting had Macs in them (at one of the top medical science unis in the US). Scientists and graphic designers kept the Macintosh alive during the mid-90s when Apple was about to go bankrupt. Indeed, there's an enclave of scientists that hated the Mac as well, the hardcore Linux people and a very tiny minority of Windows people, but the Macintosh survived their darkest period because scientists and graphic designers were their primary client base. Just sayin'.
April 18, 2011, 1:34 a.m. CST
April 18, 2011, 1:41 a.m. CST
Is the argument perhaps not if Macs are a legitimate platform but how ubiquitous they are and how you automatically associate them with tech industries - even if you have absolutely no relation to the industry at all? Sure, they're great machines, but the marketing behind them is pretty intense.
April 18, 2011, 2:37 a.m. CST
by Dr. Egon Spengler
The ruiner of all things good. Bill Hicks was spot on with that assessment back in 1992. It's 2011. Do we really need someone like Morgan Spurlock and his little film to open our eyes? I guess some of you fuckers need to be shown how much of a sucker you really are in today's world, but I sure as hell don't need this movie. Thanks evangelion80, for that link to the Thor review.
April 18, 2011, 3:20 a.m. CST
... is WAYS OF SEEING by John Berger: http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Modules/MC30820/read_10.html It's not a Spurlockian pop treatment, but shows the building blocks of advertising: semiotics (the sign, the signified, the signifier). It also analyzes the visualization of property and class in art, coded into many commercials to sell ownership and envy through consumerism. It was made by the BBC in early 70s and there's also a companion book. I checked out the trailers for Spurlock's doc and it does seem very "meta" and funny (especially the clip with Ralph Nader being sold the shoe). I may check this out to see the new technology in advertising (like neuromarketing), which reminds me again of the psycho-stimulation of 48-60FPS cinema on the horizon. Though, I wonder how POM WONDERFUL PRESENTS is going to fare as a sales pitch with this... http://legaltimes.typepad.com/blt/2010/09/ftc-slaps-pom-wonderful-with-deceptive-advertising-suit.html ...and Spurlock selling himself out to almost the point of a 'boner' commercial for POM.
April 18, 2011, 5:26 a.m. CST
by Cheif Brody
the pervasivness of advertising in media. <p> In broken English, no less. Sheesh. <p> I'm itchin to see this doc...but think it can wait til it hits Netflix. Have no interest in paying 10 bucks...then sitting through all the pre-show ADVERTISEMENTS in the theater. <p> Love the Anti-Tobacco commercial where two "Twilight" Edward/Bella type actors are asked to step further apart when they kiss cuz they are blocking the tobacco logo on the billboard behind them...as the tobacco execs sit smugly on the set watching the filming of the scene. <p> Hey...wait a minute... I started smoking not long after Die hard came out. Thanks for the cancer, Bruce Willis!
April 18, 2011, 5:35 a.m. CST
by Cheif Brody
Take THAT, capitalism!!
April 18, 2011, 6:42 a.m. CST
Saw the trailer for this the other night before "Super", I'm actually interested to see this. I wish it had been made 8 years ago so I could have used it as a source for a paper I wrote in a composition class about advertising in schools. One book I did use as a source (for more than one college paper, actually), and which I'd recommend to the few of you who haven't read it, is "Jennifer Government" by Max Barry. The book deals with corporate branding and marketing taken to the next level, where law enforcement has gone to publicy-traded private sector companies and corporations own not only naming rights to schools, but their employees (they take the last names of the companies they work for; there are characters named Nike and Exxon-Mobil.) Also, the book pretty much kicks ass. I remember at one point George Clooney and Steven Soderberg owned the rights but i don't think that's the acse anymore. I'm sure most people who read the site have read it, if you haven't, it's worth a look.
April 18, 2011, 7:31 a.m. CST
by Truxton Spangler
it's done because it works. And has worked for a long time. It's not exactly news that requires the King of Pop Docs to alert the world to.
April 18, 2011, 7:39 a.m. CST
"[School is] meant to be this place where kids can come in, develop their own view points and ideology about the world.”
by Shut the Fuck up Donny
Boy, that would be great in theory. Unfortunately, even without ads in school, there still remains human teachers who bring their own biases and personal views into the classroom.
April 18, 2011, 8:32 a.m. CST
It's gotten so ridiculous and it's funny they mention the parking meters, because I just saw a story the other day about local governments in New Jersey (OF COURSE!) figuring out what assets they own in their towns that can be branded with advertising including, are you ready for this?, THEIR FUCKING TOWN HALL. I also just read an article where they interviewed some top engineer and he said he finds it sad that all of the best minds he went to school with are working with companies like Facebook spending their life trying to figure out how to sell people stuff. It's sick... and the funny thing is, I think the majority of it is a gigantic waste of money. I think most people make their purchasing decisions in ways that have nothing to do with advertising and every time advertising creeps its way into a new form of consumer relationship, people just get annoyed and tune it. The majority of people, anyway. Of all of them, I think Facebook is the ultimate emperor with no clothes... in that same article, the chief marketing officer of some big company talked about how now, social networking creates a two-way conversation between the consumer and their brand and big companies need to play catch up with this. Fucking WHAT? What the fuck are you talking about, a two-way conversation? Like, "Listen Coke, I'm gonna click 'like' on this, but I really think a 15 ounce can would be more ideal, can we get working on that?" Or... "Hey Honda, are you coming to my kid's little league game?" What planet are these people on? I think facebook ads are completely worthless as people don't go to facebook with the expectation of advertising, they go with the expectation of connecting with others. In a google search, you are often looking for something to buy or information about a product or service, so the expectation comes BUILT INTO THE EXPERIENCE. Not so with Facebook. I said it a year ago - facebook is going to get into the search business, mark my words. There's no other way for them to continue with JUST a social networking business model. The 50bn valuation is a fucking pipe dream... based on what? Are they selling ipads and iphones at a 500% mark-up at a couple million a week? No, all they have are bullshit annoying ads for a society already drowning in, not only its own bullshit, but bullshit advertising. I think Goldman Sachs investing $500 million is perhaps the biggest indication that Facebook is a bubble unto itself, GS knows it, and GS will take suckers over a cliff... but they're the only ones who know when to pull the cord on the parachute. I don't know, maybe it's just me, but all this shit seems a bit ridiculous and pointless. I think it gives a lot of people an excuse to pretend they're honing something and 'getting it right' without actually producing results. In other words, it creates useless jobs that don't actually contribute anything. Like I said, we're DROWNING in advertising... if anything, as the noise level has risen, so has our ability to effectively tune it all out.
April 18, 2011, 8:39 a.m. CST
You're only a sucker if the advertising makes you buy shit you don't really need that contributes nothing of value to your life. It's something you have to participate in, and only under certain circumstances could you say that the person is a sucker who 'fell for it'. If I see a car billboard in the background during Transformers, then I go buy that car, but I've done my research and found it's the best car for me, am I a sucker? I think in most cases, for people who research such decisions, advertising only plays a role in letting you know what the deals are that are out there. Most people still go get a car book and compare several models in the same class before deciding. So I think except for newspaper ads and television commercials, which have been around a lot longer than all the new bullshit forms of advertising, most of the ads are a waste of money.
April 18, 2011, 1:44 p.m. CST
I mean, c'mon, already. I 've been reading this sight since I saw the prequel Yoda photos back in 1996.
April 18, 2011, 4:37 p.m. CST
I appreciate the free tickets and I was psyched to see Morgan Spurlock. But the movie is just totally pointless. The whole time I was thinking "yeah, tell me something I don't know." There are a lot of ads in the world...I already know that because I have working eyeballs. The concept was interesting (selling a doc like a hollywood blockbuster) but the premise was pretty weak when spread out over 80 minutes. It's 2011. I think most media-consumers are sophisticated enough to get everything that was covered in the film. You don't need to point out that Lexus paid to have a character on a TV show get excited about driving a Lexus. We already understand that. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop but it never did. There was never really any decent explanation as to WHY all this advertising is bad for us. But I guess if the movie was 100% for by advertisers, I shouldn't have expected that. Spurlock couldn't take 1.5 million dollars from a bunch of advertisers and then use that money to explain how advertisers are making life uglier and more annoying. Even some examination into whether or not ads or product placement are even effective would have been nice. But pretty much all we see is Morgon Spurlock having a hard time getting companies, actors, filmmakers and marketing people to talk to him. In a way, this movie was a lot like "Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden." It was all build up and no pay off. You're expecting all this stuff to go somewhere but it doesn't. When this film was over, my reaction was "Ok...and??"
April 18, 2011, 4:57 p.m. CST
Sorry.. Coke is sponsoring my talkback. Please drink.
April 18, 2011, 6:18 p.m. CST
little. yellow. different.
April 19, 2011, 7:22 a.m. CST
April 19, 2011, 10:15 a.m. CST
Decades ago, when I was in high school my economics teacher explained The Golden Rule. "Those with the Gold make the rules." It's also a bit ironic reading this interview on a site that is entirely supported by advertising dollars.
April 19, 2011, 10:22 a.m. CST
Maher had this thing a while back where he said politicians should wear suits which have the logos of all the special interest groups who sponsor them, so on Politically Incorrect he started wearing such a suit with all his sponsors' logos on it. I saw Spurlock wearing such a suit on his junket....doesn't look like he has much originality.
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