The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
January 24, 2011 2:47 PM   Subscribe

Morgan Spurlock has made a documentary about product placement. Funded entirely by sponsors Jet Blue, POM Wonderful, Mini Cooper, Amy’s Organic Pizza, Hyatt Hotels, and Sheetz.

Also featuring Quentin Tarantino, Peter Berg, Brett Ratner, J.J. Abrams, Noam Chomsky, Ralph Nader and Mane n Tail 'Human and Horse' Shampoo.

Spurlock: "I called hundreds of companies and had hundreds of doors slammed in my face. I had people tell me how they’d 'get reamed,' 'be a laughing stock' or 'never work again' if they took part in the movie. But every once in a while we’d get someone who would actually call back and slowly the herd thinned out until there were only a few people still standing around willing to take part ... What I also found surprising was how scared advertising agencies and their representatives were of the film. They wanted nothing to do with it."

Official Site: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. Premiered at Sundance, on general release April 2011.
posted by memebake (74 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Jet Blue seems like the perfect name for a sponsor of this kind of thing.
posted by haveanicesummer at 2:55 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


God Morgan Spurlock is a moron.

I'd also say, no I'd virtually guarantee we are exposed to less advertising today than we were a decade ago. Broadcast TV has it's ads skipped through now. Radio has been replaced by personal music collections on Ipods. Newspaper circulations are declining, meaning less people are exposed to their ads daily. The quantity of Internet advertising hasn't increased in the last decade.

In other words, Mr. Spurlock is wrong and a dumb ass of the highest order.

Here's a list of his work that hasn't had a deeply flawed initial premise...That is all.

And the link to the movie page is exclusively an opportunity to sign up for email updates about the movie? Pass.
posted by Keith Talent at 2:58 PM on January 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


It's rather disingenuous to call Spurlock's movies "documentaries."
posted by proj at 3:01 PM on January 24, 2011


Don't hold back, Keith, how do you really feel?
posted by ShawnStruck at 3:02 PM on January 24, 2011 [11 favorites]


Sheetz are not what I thought they'd be (sheets you could poop on).
posted by klangklangston at 3:03 PM on January 24, 2011 [19 favorites]


This post is brought to you by Pepsi® Blue™.

Pepsi® Blue™ -- Now that's what I call antifreeze!
posted by Sys Rq at 3:03 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


In other words, Mr. Spurlock is wrong and a dumb ass of the highest order.

Holy crap, dude, did Spurlock run over your dog or something?

It's reactions like this that make me actually want to see the movie.
posted by jhandey at 3:05 PM on January 24, 2011 [16 favorites]


I'd also say, no I'd virtually guarantee we are exposed to less advertising today than we were a decade ago.
Have you scrolled down a website lately?


The quantity of Internet advertising hasn't increased in the last decade.
Based on what? You saying so?


God Morgan Spurlock is a moron
While I do generally agree with you on this point, I think this film actually could be decent (although I want to see the trailer first).
posted by outlandishmarxist at 3:05 PM on January 24, 2011


Schlockfilter: A Kevin Smith FPP and a Morgan Spurlock FPP in the same day.
posted by wcfields at 3:05 PM on January 24, 2011


I'd also say, no I'd virtually guarantee we are exposed to less advertising today than we were a decade ago. Broadcast TV has it's ads skipped through now. Radio has been replaced by personal music collections on Ipods. Newspaper circulations are declining, meaning less people are exposed to their ads daily. The quantity of Internet advertising hasn't increased in the last decade.

...which is exactly why marketeers are injecting products directly into the movies and TV shows themselves, i.e. 'product placement,' i.e. the subject of Spurlock's documentary.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:08 PM on January 24, 2011 [40 favorites]


Have you scrolled down a website lately?

Have you checked out a list of the most frequently installed browser extensions?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 3:08 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whats up with Sheetz? People love it. It is a gas station that sells sandwiches, can someone explain why people love it? Is that what this documentary is about because count me in for a documentary about tasty gas station sandwiches.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:10 PM on January 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


Pennsylvania is covered in Sheetz.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 3:11 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pennsylvania is covered in Sheetz.

Especially the western part.

/LOLHATE
posted by Sys Rq at 3:17 PM on January 24, 2011


Whats up with Sheetz? People love it. It is a gas station that sells sandwiches, can someone explain why people love it? Is that what this documentary is about because count me in for a documentary about tasty gas station sandwiches.

I second this motion. I would also like to table a petition to bring sheetz to NY. I miss it.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 3:17 PM on January 24, 2011


Sheetz is the one that's like half-automated or something right? You place an order on a touchscreen?

I think I had a cherry coke and a nervous breakdown there once.
posted by The Whelk at 3:20 PM on January 24, 2011 [21 favorites]


Have you checked out a list of the most frequently installed browser extensions?

I have. And I don't see how it has anything to do with this discussion.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:21 PM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have. And I don't see how it has anything to do with this discussion.

Haha, funny. But seriously, AdBlock Plus is the top add-on for Firefox, which is the #1 personal computer (not work computer) browser.
posted by explosion at 3:23 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd think that we were exposed to every increasing and more effective forms of advertising. It isn't one of those industries where people go "Whoops, that didn't work. Guess I'll give up now!"

While my generation probably chooses to exert more control over the types of media we're exposed to, I can tell you that my parents and other people in their age bracket willingly expose themselves to radio, TV, and internet advertising on a daily basis. From listening to TV ads blaring at top volume to using Internet Explorer, they are plums just waiting to be picked on.

So product placement has it's... place.
posted by tmt at 3:24 PM on January 24, 2011


"no I'd virtually guarantee we are exposed to less advertising today than we were a decade ago. Broadcast TV has it's ads skipped through now. Radio has been replaced by personal music collections on Ipods"

You realize that not everyone has Tivo (or equivalent DVR service) and PMP's right? There is a whole chunk of society out there without such upper-middle class trappings.
posted by oddman at 3:26 PM on January 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


When I see phrases like "...who was also in the erection-ad pitch meeting." It makes me sad I didn't go into marketing.
posted by piratebowling at 3:28 PM on January 24, 2011


AdBlock Plus is the top add-on for Firefox, which is the #1 personal computer (not work computer) browser.

Haha funny. [citation needed].
posted by eyeballkid at 3:29 PM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have. And I don't see how it has anything to do with this discussion.

Exactly. Ask yourselves honestly if your parents are using AdBlock, and if they installed it themselves.

At this point, most Internet users aren't using ad blocking extensions. Ad blocking extensions are primarily used by geeks and people "in the know". It's not like Google or Microsoft advertise ad blocking extensions for Chrome or IE.

I'd be willing to guess most Internet users have their computer so full of crappy spammy toolbars and search engine results hijacked that they're seeing MORE ads now, not fewer.

Take a second to browse the web without your adblocker enabled. Almost every site out there has ads.
posted by formless at 3:29 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The early reviews are pretty good, by the way. I think its an interesting approach, and I like the idea of getting corporates to fund a movie that uncovers their own sneakiness.
posted by memebake at 3:33 PM on January 24, 2011


Perhaps I forgot the case when a word is a possessive?
posted by tmt at 3:34 PM on January 24, 2011


I've never used adblock.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:38 PM on January 24, 2011




I really enjoyed that "30 Days" show Spurlock had on TV for a while...this could be interesting...
posted by jnnla at 3:44 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Broadcast TV has it's ads skipped through now.

Well, it does if you have some kind of DVR, and even then it's not really skipped so much as you can fast forward through it, essentially turning TV ads into the blip-verts Max Headroom predicted 20 years ago.

I'm pretty convinced that advertising agencies understand that their ads are frequently fast forwarded through and have started building commercials in such a way that they are clear in what they are selling even at 3x the normal speed.
posted by quin at 3:45 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


AdBlock Plus is the top add-on for Firefox

Also for Chrome, Safari, and Opera.

(Safari's and Opera's are clones of Adblock Plus, but do the same thing).
posted by Threeway Handshake at 3:48 PM on January 24, 2011


I pay more attention to ads when I fast forward through them. I have to watch carefully for the block to end instead of just surfing the web on my iPad. I usually just let them play now and do something else instead of playing fast forward roulette.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:51 PM on January 24, 2011


Ad hominem: "Whats up with Sheetz? People love it. It is a gas station that sells sandwiches, can someone explain why people love it? Is that what this documentary is about because count me in for a documentary about tasty gas station sandwiches.

What's up with Sheetz and why do people love it? It is apparent that you have never been in one.

They have pretty-damn-tasty food, cheap. They have some of the best fast-food french fries you can get, especially on a random wednesday at 11:30pm. The MTO is sublime in its customizable perfection. They're clean, well-lit, usually well-staffed (although this can vary depending on location / proximity to a college campus after last-call). Plus, I hear they sell gas ;)
In essence, they are the Oasis in the Desert that is the generic, shady-looking no-name gas station (I'm looking at you, Arco Am/PM Mini Market.)

My home town has 3 Sheetz's, and this is a town of ~3000 people. Which should tell you something about their popularity in and of itself.


Now, someone is going to eventually jump in this thread and decry Sheetz in the face of the clearly vast superiority that is Wawa. They will be heathen apostate, and you would do well to heed them not.
posted by namewithoutwords at 3:52 PM on January 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I pay more attention to ads when I fast forward through them.

Telegraph: Advertisers are creating special commercials designed to be viewed at up to 12 times normal speed.
posted by memebake at 3:53 PM on January 24, 2011


It is a gas station that sells sandwiches, can someone explain why people love it?

I'm only half-joking when I say Sheetz is my favorite restaurant. I eat there for lunch several times a week. Why? Their menu is very broad with a variety of different foods (burgers, pizza, Mexican, subs, breakfast, and more), all of which are made to order. I could eat there for weeks without ordering the same thing twice.

The pricing is fair to cheap. When Subway started advertising their $5 footlongs, Sheetz marked a lot of their 12" subs down to $4.

The big thing for me, though, is their computerized menu system eliminates the need to talk to a human who invariably will make mistakes entering my order. I am an extremely picky eater, and I can customize my sandwiches without any hassle.

I'm obviously not a gourmet or anything, but I really like the taste of their food, too. As far as fast food goes, it's hard to beat.

That and it's open 24/7 and all of their menu items are available all the time.
posted by MegoSteve at 4:01 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks guys, I will be certain to check out sheetz. Someone should really think of doing a sandwich documentary. Have people send in short clips of themselves ordering and eating their favorite sandwich, sheetz or otherwise.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:15 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm surrounded by advertising. Literally. Even the motivational and educational posters around my school are essentially movie tie-ins, with the latest actor from the latest big movie, in costume presenting whatever the message is supposed to be (aside from 'See my new movie!'). The trains I ride are papered in advertising. It's omnipresent, even if I can escape it at home, the second I leave the door, it's everywhere. And, of course, due to product placement, it's in every movie I watch, every TV show I watch. Woohoo, there's adblock on my browser (at home, of course. At work, I have no ability to even update flash, which keeps me from seeing Youtube links at all, which is nice, since every. single. clip. has an annoying pop up ad), but real life, outside of the home? Constant, non-stop ads, taking up pretty much all available space.

I find it interesting, recently, seeing just how bad economic conditions really are. Some of those trains? Not all of the ad space is being used. When the advertisers have to cut back, things are getting ugly.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:17 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's a lot of advertising in video games lately--billboards, mostly--but I started playing Alan Wake yesterday, which is sort of cinematic, and within the first fifteen minutes, was smacked in the face with two blatant, unnerving product placements (actually, it was three, if you count two separate instances of Ford placement). Took me right out of the game, in fact.

Turns out I'm not the only one to notice, although some folks think it was just peachy.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:27 PM on January 24, 2011


Advertising is kind of a race-to-the-bottom for Corporations, because they mostly have to do it to compete with each other. God knows why its still a tax-deductable expense. And in the age of the internet, its not really necessary to forcibly inform people about products and services - they can go and find out if they are interested.

As a complete pipedream, I think it would be interesting to ban all poster advertising, and replace all those billboards and tube-escalator-posters with pictures drawn by children.
posted by memebake at 4:28 PM on January 24, 2011


The quantity of Internet advertising hasn't increased in the last decade.

I don't know. Google is making money hand over fist.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:38 PM on January 24, 2011


There's a lot of advertising in video games lately--billboards, mostly--but I started playing Alan Wake yesterday, which is sort of cinematic, and within the first fifteen minutes, was smacked in the face with two blatant, unnerving product placements (actually, it was three, if you count two separate instances of Ford placement). Took me right out of the game, in fact.

California Games, 1987.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:48 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Since the production is paid by the product placements, I'll have no qualms watching it via torrent.

As an "advertising professional" I have to pay attention to shit like this. I actually was involved in a project that would have put product placement into one of my ads. Due to at least a billion reasons it never happened. But I was wondering when it would stop.

As a consumer, I don't mind seeing a character drink a name brand beer or go to a fast food place, or whatnot. At one level it can ad realism to the story. People drink Coke or go to McDonald's. But when the product becomes a major plotline, I say fuck off (I'm looking at you "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"). A can of soda sitting on the table on the show might subconsciously make me think about getting a soda from the fridge (or if I'm out remember to buy some). No biggie.

There was that Modern Family episode when people freaked the fuck out over the dorky geek character wanting an iPad and the whole show pretty much revolved around it. That got close to being over the line and had it been any other character on the show, it would be pretty bad. But that didn't stop the product placement conspiracy theorist from going nuts: Apple makes the iPad. Apple's CEO is Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs is on the board of Disney. Disney owns ABC. WE'RE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS PEOPLE! They could done a fake product. Or some other product. But the fact was that was the perfect product for that storyline. If they did it again the next month with the chubby kid wanting an MacBook Air, I'll subscribe to the conspiracy theory newsletter.

"Lost In Translation" took place at the Park Hyatt in Tokyo. I'm totally staying there the next time I'm in Tokyo. The fact it was a Hyatt was not instrumental to the story at all. It just had to be a nice hotel that the characters would have stayed in. But Hyatt must have giving decent "production support" to the film to make that work. Now, I may not actually end up staying at that hotel, but it entered my consideration set. I know some people probably didn't even notice. Or others hated the film because of all the whoring to Hyatt and Campari.

The company I worked for with the ad-in-an-ad concept also did quite a bit of product placement. But we didn't actually pay anyone to use our product. We loaned (not gave) equipment and technical expertise so the product would be be seen in a good light (we actually turned down the Sopranos when they were looking for product because some executive thought customers might be offended by the show... but the products were for Meadow and AJ to have on their desks in their bedrooms.) In other shows the producers sought our brand out because that's what the real CIA/FBI/gov/company used so having our boxes there, gave the show cred. We got exposure that would cost several million an episode if we paid for ad space. But all we would pay for is shipping and flying someone to the set to help with tech questions. Our competitors actually would send along a check with the same type of equipment.

Because of guys like Keith Talent taking the food from my childrens' mouths* by skipping over commercials something has to be done so an advertiser feels like they're getting a return on their investment. If not then all you're left with is low budget talent contest and reality shows on TV. Or you move to the HBO model which doesn't work in broadcast. So what you're left with is a lot of this experimenting. And things like the "on demand" primetime or the "start over" which disables the ff button on the DVR.

*I'm kidding. I don't have any kids. And I skip through 100% of ads on TV. I use Adblock on the web. But because of the nature of my work I will sometimes stop and back up and watch ads, too.
posted by birdherder at 4:49 PM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


When my brother, dad and me went on a road trip through a bunch of New England breweries, there was an epidemic (e. coli? salmonella?) that was from poorly washed tomatoes, and one of the vectors was egg salad sandwiches from Sheetz.
posted by klangklangston at 4:58 PM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


California Games, 1987.

Oh man, the friggin hackysack.

Also, with regards to fast-forwarding through ads, I realize that I'm totally fine with ads that "work" in fast-forward, so long as they're silent. I really can't stand to listen to advertising. Drives me bonkers. I even hate the way the lady on WNYC says "Pajamagram."
posted by uncleozzy at 5:00 PM on January 24, 2011


Thinking about this movie gives me the Spurlock McGurgles.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:07 PM on January 24, 2011


This conversation can go in one of two ways. We can chew the gristle of Morgan Spurlock's latest exercise in prove-the-obvious-premise (did you see the one he did where he holds his breath for a really long time? you wouldn't believe what happens!). Or we can talk about something really interesting, namely Sheetz.

As a resident of the New York region, I have major Sheetz-envy. Travel around New York state or further northeast, and there seems to be no singularly reliable gas-station-as-comfort-zone chain. Of course there are recurring brands -- we have our Sunocos and our Mobils and Citgos and off-brands. But you never really know what you're getting when you stop at one. It might be a nice big station with clean bathrooms and ample dining options, or it might be a grimy dive that smells like the owner's crockpot. Basically, each location is a franchise of sorts that just happens to have Major Oil Company brand name slapped onto it. This unpredictability problem is especially apparent in the age of GPS, because although your GPS might be able to alert you that there is a Sunoco five miles ahead, it does not know whether it houses a gleaming relief station or a glorified outhouse.

When we travel south and cross the Pennsylvania border, the first sign that we've entered a New World is when the glorious "Sheetz" logo appears on the exit signs. Because unlike all of the unpredictability described earlier, Sheetz is a Known Quantity. And It Is Good.

Sheetz is not the only one of its type. Depending where you are, there is of course Wawa, and in truck stop land, there is the Flying J and Love's. What they all have -- and what we sorely lack north of the PA border -- is that "this will be a great place to stop" predictability. Which, really, is what you want in a place to stop. Though I still like Sheetz the best, just because I love ordering sandwiches and wraps on the touch screen. I feel like I am at a gas station from the future. And the food is, frankly, more than just respectable for a gas station. You can even get pesto!
posted by thebordella at 5:19 PM on January 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


I watched Envy last night on tv (that's the one where Jack Black becomes a kajillionaire and drives Ben Stiller crazy by inventing a spray that makes dog poop disappear; it's not very good). Anyway, the two characters work for 3M, so there's a lot of 3M stuff in a lot of shots. It's not quite on the level of FedEx in Cast Away, but it's close.

The funny part of all this is that the moral messages of the film (aside from "envy is bad, m'kay?") are A) Chemicals you use everyday are destroying the earth, and B) Chemical companies make a lot of money by ignoring A). In short, it's not exactly a ringing endorsement of 3M... which may explain why half the commercials were for products made by Johnson&Johnson.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:23 PM on January 24, 2011


I'd also say, no I'd virtually guarantee we are exposed to less advertising today than we were a decade ago. Broadcast TV has it's ads skipped through now.
I, personally, run adblock. I think it would be interesting to actually test this, I have no idea whether it's right or wrong. Part of it is a question of what "exposure" means. There are tons of ads on most web pages, but none of them as in your face as TV commercials. You're exposed, but far less likely to spend cognitive effort on them.
In other words, Mr. Spurlock is wrong and a dumb ass of the highest order.
Wasn't it Supersize Me here he took McDonald's fries and left them out for a long time to see what happened thus proving they were full of preservatives or something? But isn't that a pretty common thing for stuff made out of potatoes? Seems like dried-out potato stuff is pretty robust.
Haha, funny. But seriously, AdBlock Plus is the top add-on for Firefox, which is the #1 personal computer (not work computer) browser.
Firefox and chrome combined have pretty massive market share, and adblock is the most popular add-on with 1.8 million users, according to the site. Whereas Adblock Plus for firefox has 900k weekly downloads.
posted by delmoi at 5:24 PM on January 24, 2011


The funny part of all this is that the moral messages of the film (aside from "envy is bad, m'kay?") are A) Chemicals you use everyday are destroying the earth, and B) Chemical companies make a lot of money by ignoring A). In short, it's not exactly a ringing endorsement of 3M... which may explain why half the commercials were for products made by Johnson&Johnson.
You should check out The Informant!
posted by delmoi at 5:25 PM on January 24, 2011


birdherder, the only thing I can say is don't stay at the Park Hyatt. Aside from everything else, it's absurdly expensive. You're looking at $600 a night for a twin, and for that, good lord you could stay at some unbelievable traditional Japanese hotels and ryokan. Seriously. The reason people like Coppola and her characters stay there is because there's nothing even remotely different or challenging there. It's the high end version of coming to Japan and eating McDonald's because it's 'safe.'
posted by Ghidorah at 5:42 PM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I actually was involved in a project that would have put product placement into one of my ads.

Wait, are you saying they were going to put an ad INSIDE your ad? Were you by any chance working for the rapper Xzibit?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 6:03 PM on January 24, 2011 [14 favorites]


Sheetz was/is the Mecca of my small Western Pennsylvania hometown. They had hoagies, or as we called them, ho-fucking-ogies, a whole aisle for beef jerky, and Snyder's of Berlin sour cream and chive potato chips.

I do sorely miss Snyder's of Berlin potato chips.

It smells like a giant baked potato in Berlin, PA.

sigh.

I doubt I'll see the Spurlock movie.
posted by eegphalanges at 6:13 PM on January 24, 2011


people arguing that they can adblock and DVR through or around most advertising are missing a crucial point that advertising revenue, and the drive for advertising revenue, shapes the very content of the newspaper, radio, tv program, movie, etc that they are consuming.

who was it that said that the shows on tv are just ads for the ads?
posted by eustatic at 6:25 PM on January 24, 2011


There's a lot of advertising in video games lately--billboards, mostly--but I started playing Alan Wake yesterday, which is sort of cinematic, and within the first fifteen minutes, was smacked in the face with two blatant, unnerving product placements (actually, it was three, if you count two separate instances of Ford placement). Took me right out of the game, in fact.

California Games, 1987


Tapper, 1983
posted by Wild_Eep at 6:31 PM on January 24, 2011


I'm not surprised that Sheetz would agree to participate. I have little doubt that the powers that be viewed it as another offbeat marketing opportunity.

Someone should really think of doing a sandwich documentary. Have people send in short clips of themselves ordering and eating their favorite sandwich, sheetz or otherwise.

Sandwiches You Will Like.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 6:54 PM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think Adam Sandler has turned product placement into an art form for his movies. Though I seem to remember reading that he does it because he likes the product, and didn't get paid to put products in the movies. While i didn't find a citation for it, I did find this:

Examples of product placement in movies

Can you search for something and not get a related Ask Metafilter question in your search results? I thought not.
posted by Roger Dodger at 7:05 PM on January 24, 2011


Sheetz protip: if you MTO a BLT, it's like $3 something. If you MTO a veggie sandwich with lettuce and tomato and hit continue, then when it asks you if you would like to add bacon to your sandwich for 59 cents, you say yes, the total comes out almost a dollar cheaper.

I'm a little surprised at all the Sheetz love in here. It's not that tasty (except of course, at 2AM). Although, those places do manage to keep an impressive variety of ingredients in stock. The best part about my brief stint working at a Wawa, were the amazing sandwiches I could concoct for my lunch. Very few of which you would actually be able to order through the computer, sadly.
posted by papersnprayers at 10:01 PM on January 24, 2011


uncleozzy: "I started playing Alan Wake yesterday, which is sort of cinematic, and within the first fifteen minutes, was smacked in the face with two blatant, unnerving product placements (actually, it was three, if you count two separate instances of Ford placement). Took me right out of the game, in fact. "

Trust me when I say you have not seen product placement *yet*. It gets either fantastically funny or offensive or both.
posted by graventy at 10:05 PM on January 24, 2011


I feel like I am at a gas station from the future. And the food is, frankly, more than just respectable for a gas station. You can even get pesto!

Aaah, you have to google up "Autogrill panini", browse the images... panini piadine focacce... Here's a couple of examples of the unforgettable memories of stopping for a sandwich at the Autogrill while travelling on the motorways in Italy. (They have them in airports too now but it used to be exclusively on the motorways and a lot less fancy looking. The gas station from the past...) I grew up there and as a kid that was the first thing I'd anticipate when my dad drove us to the coast for the holidays. I cannot expect anything else in the world to match the Autogrill. I'd go see any movie that featured a plot revolving around the Autogrill if it includes close ups of the panini counter.

(this is NOT product placement it's a fondness shared by millions)

Someone should really think of doing a sandwich documentary. Yes.
posted by bitteschoen at 6:18 AM on January 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I actually was involved in a project that would have put product placement into one of my ads. Due to at least a billion reasons it never happened. But I was wondering when it would stop.

I believe this was pioneered with the Remora Advertising Network in 2001.
posted by mikepop at 6:37 AM on January 25, 2011


Sandwiches You Will Like.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 6:54 PM on January 24 [+] [!]


Oh hell yeah, Italian Beef, French Dip, and Beef on Weck in one documentary? I am going to netflix that film right now!

Can Sheetz hook me up with a Beef on Weck, in that case I am moving to PA.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:38 AM on January 25, 2011


I pay more attention to ads when I fast forward through them.

My PVR lets me skip 30 seconds forward at a time... So I just skip/skip/skip/skip through the ads... It's buggy, so every once in a while it skips 2-3 minutes fowards instead of 30 seconds, and I have to skip back, but I generally only see about 1 second of any ad during the ad break, and sometimes end up skipping over entire ads. Take THAT, advertising agencies!
posted by antifuse at 7:06 AM on January 25, 2011


Hey, Sheetz marketing department, it worked!
posted by jtron at 7:35 AM on January 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


The film was also produced by MetaFilter's own kcalder (me).

Happy to answer whatever questions the MeFites have about the film.
posted by kcalder at 8:30 AM on January 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


kcalder: "Happy to answer whatever questions the MeFites have about the film."

Well, after reading the thread, it should be obvious what we're all dying to know: What's your opinion on Sheetz?
posted by namewithoutwords at 9:08 AM on January 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


In the "jokes that most people didn't get" category, Josie and the Pussycats:

In line with its theme of subliminal advertising, the inordinate degree of product placement in the movie constitutes a running gag. Almost every scene features a mention or appearance of one or more famous brands, including Sega and the Dreamcast (Sega's mascot Sonic The Hedgehog also appears in Archie Comics), Motorola, Starbucks, McDonald's, Gatorade, Snapple, Evian, Target, Aquafina, America Online, Pizza Hut, Cartoon Network (which has aired the cartoon series on many occasions), Revlon, Kodak, Puma, Advil, Bounce and more. None of the advertising was paid promotion by the represented brands; it was inserted voluntarily by the filmmakers.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:09 AM on January 25, 2011


namewithoutwords: "Well, after reading the thread, it should be obvious what we're all dying to know: What's your opinion on Sheetz?"

Being a resident of Los Angeles, and formerly living in New York and London, I have never actually been to a Sheetz location.

That said, they are clearly the greatest convenience store in the world.
posted by kcalder at 9:11 AM on January 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


When my brother, dad and me went on a road trip through a bunch of New England breweries, there was an epidemic (e. coli? salmonella?) that was from poorly washed tomatoes, and one of the vectors was egg salad sandwiches from Sheetz.

Worth it.

Being a resident of Los Angeles, and formerly living in New York and London, I have never actually been to a Sheetz location.

Sheetz is essentially a consolation prize for having to live south of NYS.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 12:30 PM on January 25, 2011


One time at a barbeque I was tricked into having an ASTOUNDING number of shots of 'grape' 'vodka', like a medically alarming amount, in a very short stretch of the afternoon. After that, I time traveled a bit. When I came to, I was standing in a Sheetz, in front of the counter, while someone on the other side of the counter was saying a number to me. After a bit of confusion, I realized they were asking for money, and figured the easiest way out of the situation was to give them some. I did so with money I was lucky enough to have in my hand already, and the counter-minder exchanged that cash for a sammich I had apparently ordered through their magic computer robot sammich machine system.

I took that sammich outside and ran into a couple of other people I knew, which seemed like an amazing coincidence until they revealed that they had in fact driven us all here, and another part of a mystery was solved. Then I sat down and ate the sammich, and it was FUCKING PERFECT.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:02 PM on January 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


kcalder: How fascinating that you produced this film!

I'm curious, that short blurb from Spurlock linked in the FPP says that it was difficult to get sponsors for the film and to get ad people to talk to you. How hard was that really? And was there a point when you started to get the Right People involved where you found the resistance was melting away, because So-and-So was on board, so others were more willing?
posted by hippybear at 2:58 PM on January 25, 2011


I'm curious, that short blurb from Spurlock linked in the FPP says that it was difficult to get sponsors for the film and to get ad people to talk to you. How hard was that really? And was there a point when you started to get the Right People involved where you found the resistance was melting away, because So-and-So was on board, so others were more willing?

It was very hard to get sponsors on board initially. It took way longer than we had anticipated.

The biggest difference was once Morgan started approaching brands directly, rather than through agencies. Agencies were not very supportive of the film, I beleve because they were afraid it would make them look terrible. Once we got our first brand on board, it all became a lot easier. I don't want to get more detailed than that because we'll get into "spoiler" territory pretty quickly.
posted by kcalder at 3:06 PM on January 25, 2011


Morgan Spurlock should make his next documentary about Sheetz.
posted by jnnla at 4:33 PM on January 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sheetz was founded in my hometown, and everything everyone has said here is true. The food is damn good (Sheetz seriously has the best fast food fries anywhere- they're cooked to order), the restrooms are clean, and things are amazingly consistent across locations. Now that I live in the midwest, Sheetz is one of the things I miss most about home, maybe second only to my family.

Woo hoo! Go Sheetz!
posted by rebel_rebel at 11:09 PM on January 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


kcalder: When meeting the companies, did you get much sense that advertising is like an arms-race that companies would be glad to opt out of? (I've often wondered if there might be corporate support for curbs on advertising - although there obviously wouldn't be from the ad agencies)
posted by memebake at 1:59 AM on January 26, 2011


When meeting the companies, did you get much sense that advertising is like an arms-race that companies would be glad to opt out of? (I've often wondered if there might be corporate support for curbs on advertising - although there obviously wouldn't be from the ad agencies)

One brand in the film spends no money on advertising at all, and that's part of their philosophy. For the rest, they all happily spend on advertising because they're trying to sell their products and services on a larger scale than pure word-of-mouth can usually ensure.
posted by kcalder at 12:45 PM on January 26, 2011


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