This weekend, I saw Morgan Spurlock’s new documentary, “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.” The concept is simple—fed up with all the advertising around him, Morgan decides to take a critical look at “brand integration” in our everyday lives by making a documentary that is fully-funded by product placement. He shows us every step involved in getting sponsors and one of the points he hits the hardest is that movies and brands have formed a symbiotic relationship—studios make money when sponsors buy into a movie, sponsors get a visibility boost from people seeing the flick, and in turn the sponsors promote said movies not only on their packaging but in their other advertising. It’s a pretty good racket in the end.
So I was pretty interested to see today that the new James Bond flick, “Bond 23,” will be financed by a whopping $45 million worth of product placement. That is an entire third of the movie’s budget. It’s far more than any Bond film in the past, even ones that had huge sponsors like BMW and Omega, and more than twice as much as the film that previously held the record for the most money made from product placement, “Minority Report.” That movie got $20 million from American Express, Lexus, and Bulgari to help with production. So crazy that now looks like small potatoes.
Guess we’re just waiting for the first feature film to be fully funded by brands. Because who wouldn’t want to see a two hour long commercial?