Changing the Way You Think About Documentaries

When I was reading Michael Moore’s 13 Rules for Making Documentary Films and The Hidden Persuaders Come Out in Full Force, it was interesting to see how Morgan Spurlock utilized some parts of the 13 rules that Michael Moore wrote about.

The most interesting connection between the Moore article and the article by Holden.  Moore in the article said that people who are making a documentary should go after the “villains”.  While Spurlock’s film  isn’t labeling the brand companies as the villains, but he’s showing what power they have over media. Spurlock did go after some big companies that have ads and commercials out in public.  Spurlock looked at the companies and really dissects in the documentary “Pom Wonderful Presents: Greatest Movie Ever Sold”, how these big brand companies are able to be advertised in everyday life.  Not only in television ads or in newspapers, but in movies as well.  The companies might not be selling their product as bluntly as they do in their commercials, but they still want to have their product used in such a way that the people how see the product want to buy the product.  In Spurlock’s documentry, he showed the audience about the process and the amount of time goes into having companies buy-in to movies or television shows.  It was truly amazing to see how much companies are willing to put up to  be in the television show or movie.  They are hoping to have their product seen in this movie, and as a result have the audience who saw it want to go out and purchase said item.  It’s kind of like a facade.  They are hoping to sell you the item because they are saying that you aren’t good enough just being you without the item.  When you buy the item(s) that they are selling you, they are saying that you will be a happier, prettier, smarter, healthier, and overall better person.

While watching this movie, I realized how interesting it was to see how music even plays as role as well.  From having music go with the movie, television show, or commercial.  It is interesting to see how musicians in the beginning might have their songs in a commercial that doesn’t accurately represent their “image”, and when they are better known they can pick and choose which movie, show, or ad they want to have their music in.  Having their music in a movie, show, or ad won’t only benefit them by having a popular song being featured in it, but also having the viewers want to listen to more music by the artist.  This relationship is mutually beneficial to both.

In the documentary, it was amazing to see how much advertising and subliminal messaging there is in just the entertainment industry.   From the cars that are driven to the drinks that are shown, the companies are hoping that you will go out and buy the said item.  The way that they are commonly presenting the items, they are saying that you aren’t good enough as you are unless you have this item.  In hopes that you go out and buy this item to make your life better.

Since seeing that movie, I have begun to notice the amount of ads that I am shown each and every day.  The ads don’t necessarily have to be thirty second ads, but even just shown an item that can correspond with a brand.  The general public might be exposed to hundreds to thousands of ads every day.  The companies are then going to hope that we go out and buy the items.  The cycle would then start all over again because if we are seen with the item, and then they would in turn buy the item.


One thought on “Changing the Way You Think About Documentaries

  1. Good job on your first blog post!

    You bring up a good point that often we don’t even realize we are seeing an advertisment. Integrated advertising is exactly this. We see a show on television, or a film for that matter, and a character is drinking a Coke, wearing Nike shoes, and carrying a Coach purse. Because we see this so often in our every day life, we don’t even realize that we are seeing product placement paid for by the brands. We don’t even “see” it because we see it every day. That could even be us for that matter. That is why it is so sneaky, effective, but sneaky. We need advertising because we live in a consumer culture and businesses of all sizes can’t survive without customers, but I wish we could find balance…I am hopeful now that brands are starting to use their brand power to create ads centered around social issues—like the Super Bowl Colgate ad focusing on water usage/shortage, and even the Ikea ad focusing on how we forget to relax and enjoy our meal because we are so focused on getting our meal 1,000 “likes” on Facebook or Instagram.



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