Documentarian and social critic Morgan Spurlock’s latest opus is all about how corporate America insinuates its advertising messages in between the commercials and in many other ways via product placement. Part of the joke is that companies like Sheetz are placed in Spurlock’s film, and provided the funding that got it made in the first place.
Spurlock’s work, “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold,” made its debut recently at the Sundance Film Festival, and Sheetz couldn’t have been happier than to be one of 15 companies participating in it.
Spurlock commented, “Being from West Virginia I have been long been a fan of Sheetz. They really got it from the beginning and were a great company to include in the film. Everywhere we filmed their employees had an incredible attitude and went all out to make their part the best it could be. And have you seen how clean those Sheetz bathrooms are? Amazing.”
The film pokes fun at how corporations are poking their message into almost every conceivable niche, and part of the joke is that the film is itself just one more example.
Louie Sheetz, executive vice-president of sales & marketing at Sheetz, said, “We loved the approach that Spurlock takes in the film. He cleverly jabs at the world of product placement and being in on the joke is exactly where we wanted to be. Sheetz has a well-known reputation for being real and unexpected. Morgan takes that same approach with his films. The chance to team up with him for this type of movie is a great way for our fans to enjoy Sheetz in an entirely different arena than they are used to.”
RBR-TVBR observation: As consumers, we’re not so fond of product “experts” that are supposedly reviewing various items that unbeknownst to us they are being paid to love. But when it comes to simple product placement, we really don’t have any major objections.
For example, free over-the-air broadcast television is expected to serve the public interest and fund itself – the government doesn’t give each station a public service stipend.
However, viewers who channel surf during commercials, or use technology to delete them or fast forward through them, have been damaging their value. If product placement can restore some of that life-blood revenue and keep the programming free, then it is to our benefit.