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  • I have spent the past few years

  • putting myself into situations

  • that are usually very difficult

  • and at the same time somewhat dangerous.

  • I went to prison --

  • difficult.

  • I worked in a coal mine --

  • dangerous.

  • I filmed in war zones --

  • difficult and dangerous.

  • And I spent 30 days eating nothing but this --

  • fun in the beginning,

  • little difficult in the middle, very dangerous in the end.

  • In fact, most of my career,

  • I've been immersing myself

  • into seemingly horrible situations

  • for the whole goal of trying

  • to examine societal issues

  • in a way that make them engaging, that make them interesting,

  • that hopefully break them down in a way

  • that make them entertaining and accessible to an audience.

  • So when I knew I was coming here

  • to do a TED Talk that was going to look at the world of branding and sponsorship,

  • I knew I would want to do something a little different.

  • So as some of you may or may not have heard,

  • a couple weeks ago, I took out an ad on eBay.

  • I sent out some Facebook messages,

  • some Twitter messages,

  • and I gave people the opportunity to buy the naming rights

  • to my 2011 TED Talk.

  • (Laughter)

  • That's right, some lucky individual, corporation,

  • for-profit or non-profit,

  • was going to get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity --

  • because I'm sure Chris Anderson will never let it happen again --

  • (Laughter)

  • to buy the naming rights

  • to the talk you're watching right now,

  • that at the time didn't have a title, didn't really have a lot of content

  • and didn't really give much hint

  • as to what the subject matter would actually be.

  • So what you were getting was this:

  • Your name here presents:

  • My TED Talk that you have no idea what the subject is

  • and, depending on the content, could ultimately blow up in your face,

  • especially if I make you or your company look stupid for doing it.

  • But that being said,

  • it's a very good media opportunity.

  • (Laughter)

  • You know how many people watch these TED Talks?

  • It's a lot.

  • That's just a working title, by the way.

  • (Laughter)

  • So even with that caveat,

  • I knew that someone would buy the naming rights.

  • Now if you'd have asked me that a year ago,

  • I wouldn't have been able to tell you that with any certainty.

  • But in the new project that I'm working on, my new film,

  • we examine the world of marketing, advertising.

  • And as I said earlier,

  • I put myself in some pretty horrible situations over the years,

  • but nothing could prepare me, nothing could ready me,

  • for anything as difficult

  • or as dangerous

  • as going into the rooms with these guys.

  • (Laughter)

  • You see, I had this idea for a movie.

  • (Video) Morgan Spurlock: What I want to do is make a film

  • all about product placement, marketing and advertising,

  • where the entire film is funded

  • by product placement, marketing and advertising.

  • So the movie will be called "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold."

  • So what happens in "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold,"

  • is that everything from top to bottom, from start to finish,

  • is branded from beginning to end --

  • from the above-the-title sponsor that you'll see in the movie,

  • which is brand X.

  • Now this brand, the Qualcomm Stadium,

  • the Staples Center ...

  • these people will be married to the film in perpetuity -- forever.

  • And so the film explores this whole idea -- (Michael Kassan: It's redundant.)

  • It's what? (MK: It's redundant.) In perpetuity, forever?

  • I'm a redundant person. (MK: I'm just saying.)

  • That was more for emphasis.

  • It was, "In perpetuity. Forever."

  • But not only are we going to have the brand X title sponsor,

  • but we're going to make sure we sell out every category we can in the film.

  • So maybe we sell a shoe and it becomes the greatest shoe you ever wore ...

  • the greatest car you ever drove from "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold,"

  • the greatest drink you've ever had, courtesy of "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold."

  • Xavier Kochhar: So the idea is,

  • beyond just showing that brands are a part of your life,

  • but actually get them to finance the film? (MS: Get them to finance the film.)

  • MS: And actually we show the whole process of how does it work.

  • The goal of this whole film is transparency.

  • You're going to see the whole thing take place in this movie.

  • So that's the whole concept,

  • the whole film, start to finish.

  • And I would love for CEG to help make it happen.

  • Robert Friedman: You know it's funny,

  • because when I first hear it,

  • it is the ultimate respect

  • for an audience.

  • Guy: I don't know how receptive

  • people are going to be to it, though.

  • XK: Do you have a perspective --

  • I don't want to use "angle" because that has a negative connotation --

  • but do you know how this is going to play out? (MS: No idea.)

  • David Cohn: How much money does it take to do this?

  • MS: 1.5 million. (DC: Okay.)

  • John Kamen: I think that you're going to have a hard time meeting with them,

  • but I think it's certainly worth pursuing

  • a couple big, really obvious brands.

  • XK: Who knows, maybe by the time your film comes out,

  • we look like a bunch of blithering idiots.

  • MS: What do you think the response is going to be?

  • Stuart Ruderfer: The responses mostly will be "no."

  • MS: But is it a tough sell because of the film

  • or a tough sell because of me?

  • JK: Both.

  • MS: ... Meaning not so optimistic.

  • So, sir, can you help me? I need help.

  • MK: I can help you.

  • MS: Okay. (MK: Good.)

  • Awesome.

  • MK: We've gotta figure out which brands.

  • MS: Yeah. (MK: That's the challenge.)

  • When you look at the people you deal with ..

  • MK: We've got some places we can go. (MS: Okay.)

  • Turn the camera off.

  • MS: I thought "Turn the camera off"

  • meant, "Let's have an off-the-record conversation."

  • Turns out it really means,

  • "We want nothing to do with your movie."

  • MS: And just like that, one by one,

  • all of these companies suddenly disappeared.

  • None of them wanted anything to do with this movie.

  • I was amazed.

  • They wanted absolutely nothing to do with this project.

  • And I was blown away, because I thought the whole concept, the idea of advertising,

  • was to get your product out in front of as many people as possible,

  • to get as many people to see it as possible.

  • Especially in today's world,

  • this intersection of new media and old media

  • and the fractured media landscape,

  • isn't the idea to get

  • that new buzz-worthy delivery vehicle

  • that's going to get that message to the masses?

  • No, that's what I thought.

  • But the problem was, you see,

  • my idea had one fatal flaw,

  • and that flaw was this.

  • Actually no, that was not the flaw whatsoever.

  • That wouldn't have been a problem at all.

  • This would have been fine.

  • But what this image represents was the problem.

  • See, when you do a Google image search for transparency,

  • this is ---

  • (Laughter)

  • (Applause)

  • This is one of the first images that comes up.

  • So I like the way you roll, Sergey Brin. No.

  • (Laughter)

  • This is was the problem: transparency --

  • free from pretense or deceit;

  • easily detected or seen through;

  • readily understood;

  • characterized by visibility or accessibility of information,

  • especially concerning business practices --

  • that last line being probably the biggest problem.

  • You see, we hear a lot about transparency these days.

  • Our politicians say it, our president says it,

  • even our CEO's say it.

  • But suddenly when it comes down to becoming a reality,

  • something suddenly changes.

  • But why? Well, transparency is scary --

  • (Roar)

  • like that odd, still-screaming bear.

  • (Laughter)

  • It's unpredictable --

  • (Music)

  • (Laughter)

  • like this odd country road.

  • And it's also very risky.

  • (Laughter)

  • What else is risky?

  • Eating an entire bowl of Cool Whip.

  • (Laughter)

  • That's very risky.

  • Now when I started talking to companies

  • and telling them that we wanted to tell this story,

  • and they said, "No, we want you to tell a story.

  • We want you to tell a story,

  • but we just want to tell our story."

  • See, when I was a kid

  • and my father would catch me in some sort of a lie --

  • and there he is giving me the look he often gave me --

  • he would say, "Son, there's three sides to every story.

  • There's your story,

  • there's my story

  • and there's the real story."

  • Now you see, with this film, we wanted to tell the real story.

  • But with only one company, one agency willing to help me --

  • and that's only because I knew John Bond and Richard Kirshenbaum for years --

  • I realized that I would have to go on my own,

  • I'd have to cut out the middleman

  • and go to the companies myself with all of my team.

  • So what you suddenly started to realize --

  • or what I started to realize --

  • is that when you started having conversations with these companies,

  • the idea of understanding your brand is a universal problem.

  • (Video) MS: I have friends who make great big, giant Hollywood films,

  • and I have friends who make little independent films like I make.

  • And the friends of mine who make big, giant Hollywood movies

  • say the reason their films are so successful

  • is because of the brand partners that they have.

  • And then my friends who make small independent films

  • say, "Well, how are we supposed to compete

  • with these big, giant Hollywood movies?"

  • And the movie is called

  • "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold."

  • So how specifically will we see Ban in the film?

  • Any time I'm ready to go, any time I open up my medicine cabinet,

  • you will see Ban deodorant.

  • While anytime I do an interview with someone,

  • I can say, "Are you fresh enough for this interview?

  • Are you ready? You look a little nervous.

  • I want to help you calm down.

  • So maybe you should put some one before the interview."

  • So we'll offer one of these fabulous scents.

  • Whether it's a "Floral Fusion" or a "Paradise Winds,"

  • they'll have their chance.

  • We will have them geared for both male or female --

  • solid, roll-on or stick, whatever it may be.

  • That's the two-cent tour.

  • So now I can answer any of your questions

  • and give you the five-cent tour.

  • Karen Frank: We are a smaller brand.

  • Much like you talked about being a smaller movie,

  • we're very much a challenger brand.

  • So we don't have the budgets that other brands have.

  • So doing things like this -- you know,

  • remind people about Ban --

  • is kind of why were interested in it.

  • MS: What are the words that you would use to describe Ban?

  • Ban is blank.

  • KF: That's a great question.

  • (Laughter)

  • Woman: Superior technology.

  • MS: Technology's not the way you want to describe something

  • somebody's putting in their armpit.

  • Man: We talk about bold, fresh.

  • I think "fresh" is a great word that really spins this category into the positive,

  • versus "fights odor and wetness."

  • It keeps you fresh.

  • How do we keep you fresher longer -- better freshness,

  • more freshness, three times fresher.