April 4, 2020
The greatest TED Talk ever sold – Morgan Spurlock

The greatest TED Talk ever sold – Morgan Spurlock

[Music] 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 a little difficult in the middle very dangerous in the end in fact most of my career I have 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 gonna look at the world of branding and sponsorship I knew I would want to do something a little different so 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 that’s right some lucky individual corporation for-profit or nonprofit was going to get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity because I’m sure Chris Anderson will never let it happen again – by 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 did you have no idea what the subject isn’t 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 you know how many people watch these TED Talks it’s a lot that’s just a working title by the way 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 been able to tell you that with any certainty but in the new project that I’m working on my new film we exam in 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 you see I had this idea for a movie 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 you know from the above the title sponsor that you’ll see in the movie which is Brand X now this brand the Qualcomm Stadium the you know Staples Center these people will be married to the film in perpetuity forever and so the film explores this whole idea it’s what in perpetuity period forever but not only we’re gonna have the Brand X title sponsor but we’re gonna make sure we sellout 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 you know the the greatest drink you’ve ever had Kurt see the greatest movie ever sold so the idea is beyond just showing that brands are part of life but actually get them to finance the film is them to finance the film and actually we show the whole process of how does it work the goal of this whole film is transparency you’re gonna see the whole thing take place in this movie so that’s the the whole concept the whole film start to finish and I would love for scene journey to help make it happen yeah you know it’s funny because when I first hear it it is the ultimate respect for an audience I don’t know how receptive people are going to be to it though you have a perspective or do you I don’t want to use angle because that has sort of has a negative connotation but do you think that do you sort of know how this is gonna play out no idea how much money did it take to do this 1.5 million they’re good I think that you’re gonna have a hard time meeting with them but I think it’s you know certainly worth pursuing a couple really big obvious brands who knows maybe by the time your film comes out we look like a bunch of blundering idiots what do you think the response is gonna be I the responses mostly will be no but as the toughest cell because the felmers tough sell because of me both that meaning I’m not so optimistic so can you help me I need help I can help okay good good awesome yeah we got a fight figure out which brands yeah that’s that’s the challenge when you and you look at like the people you deal with we’ve got some places we can go okay I’ll turn the camera 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 and just like that one by one all of these companies suddenly disappeared none of them wanted anything to do with this movie I mean I was amazed they wanted absolutely nothing to do with this project and I mean 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 them as many people to see it as possible especially in today’s world this this intersection of new media and old median 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 now 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 would’ve been a problem at all see 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 this is one of the first images that comes up so I like the way you roll sergey brin no this this 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 you know our politicians say it our president says it even our CEOs say it but suddenly when it comes down to it becoming a reality something suddenly changes but why well transparency is scary like that odd still screaming bear it’s unpredictable [Music] like this odd country road and it’s also very risky what else is what else is risky eating an entire bowl of Cool Whip that’s very risky no when I started talking to companies you know and telling them you we wanted to tell this story and they said no we want you to tell a story we want you to tell a story the way we just want to tell our story see when I was a kid and my father would catch me in some sort of lie Mary 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 Bonham 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 you know myself with all of my team so well you suddenly started realize or what I started realized that we started having conversation with these companies the idea of understanding your brand is a universal problem 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 might make big giant Hollywood movies say that 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 and so now how specifically what we see banned in the film it’s any time I’m getting ready to go any time I open up my medicine cabinet you will see ban deodorant well any time do an interview with someone I could say are you are you fresh enough for this interview are you are you ready look a little nervous I want to help you calm down so maybe you should maybe you should put some on for the interview this little offer you know one of this fabulous says whether it’s a floral fusion or paradise wins you know they’ll have their chance you know what we will have have them geared for both male or female you know solid roll-on or stick whatever maybe that’s the that’s the two cent tour so now I can answer your questions and give you the five-cent tour we are a smaller brain much like you talked about being a smaller you know movie are very much a challenge of brands 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 we’re interested in it what are the words that you would use to describe ban ban is blank technology’s not the way you want to describe something somebody’s put in their armpit you’re talking about bold oh yeah fresh guyhnic fresh is a great word that really spins this category into the positive versus a fights odor and when this right it’s keeps you fresh fresh either we keep you fresher longer better freshness more freshness three times fresher things like that that are you know more of that positive benefit and that’s a multi-million dollar corporation what about me what about a regular guy I need to go talk to the man on the street the people who are like me the regular Joe’s they need to tell me about my brand how would you guys describe your brand my brain I don’t know like all right really nice clothes eighties revival meets skater Punk unless it’s laundry day right what is brand Jerry unique unique I guess what kind of genre style I am would be like dark glamour I like a lot of black colors a lot of Gray’s and stuff like that but usually some that have an accessory like sunglasses or I like crystal and things like that too if Dan were a brand he might be a classic convertible I’m insane the brand that I am is I would call it casual fly part hippy part yogi part Brooklyn girl I don’t know I’m the pet guy I sell pet toys all over the country all over the world so I guess that’s my brand in my warped little industry that’s my brand my brand is FedEx because I deliver the goods failed writer alcoholic brand is that something I’m a lawyer brand I’m Tom well we can’t all be brand Tom but I do often find myself at the intersection of dark glamour and casual fly what I realize I needed an expert I need someone who could get inside my head somebody who could really help me understand what they call your brand personality and so I found a company called Olsen’s Altman in Pittsburgh who they’ve helped companies like Nestle Febreze hallmark discover that brand personality if they could do it for them surely they could do it for me you brought your pictures right I did the very first picture is a picture of my family so tell me a little bit how it relates to your thoughts and feelings about anyway these are the people who shaped the way I look at the world tell me about this world I think it’s the I think your world is the world that you live in like people that are around you your friends your family the the way you live your life a job you do like all those things stemmed and started from one place and for me there’s them installed with my family in West Virginia what’s the next one going to talk about the next one this was the best day ever how does this relate to thoughts and feelings about who you are there’s like who do I want to be I like things that are different I like things that are weird things tell me about the Y phase what does that do for us what does the Michelle people state genuine now as important what is the red represent [Music] thank you thank you yeah thanks for your patient great job yeah yeah I don’t know what’s gonna come of this there was a whole lot of crazy going on in there the first thing we saw was this idea that you had two distinct but complementary sides to your brand personality the Morgan Spurlock brand is a mindful play brand those are kind of juxtaposed very nicely together and I think there’s almost a paradox with those and I think some companies will just focus on one one of their strengths or you know or the other instead of focusing on both most companies tend to it’s human nature to avoid things that they’re not sure of avoid fear those elements and you really embrace those and you actually turn them into positives for you it’s a neat thing to see what other brands are like that the first one here is a classic Apple and you can see here to target we mini from Mini Coopers and JetBlue now there’s playful brands and mindful brands those sort of things that have come and gone but a playful mindful brand is a pretty powerful thing a playful mindful brand what is your brand if somebody actually described your brand identity your brand personality what would you be are you an up attribute are you something that gets the blood flowing are you more of a Down attribute are you something a little more calm reserved conservative up attributes are things like being playful being fresh like The Fresh Prince contemporary adventurous edge you’re daring like Errol Flynn nimble or agile profane domineering magical or mystical like Gandalf are you more of a Down attribute are you mindful sophisticated like double-oh-seven are you established traditional nurturing protective empathetic like the Oprah are you reliable stable familiar safe secure sacred contemplative or wise like the Dalai Lama or Yoda over the course this film we had 500 plus companies who were up and down company say no they didn’t want any part of this project they wanted nothing to do with this film mainly because they had no control they would have no control over the final product but we did get 17 brand partners who were willing to relinquish that control who wanted to be in business with someone as mindful and as playful as myself and who ultimately empowered us to tell stories that normally we wouldn’t be able to tell stories that an advertiser would normally never get behind they enabled us to tell the story about neuro marketing as we got into the telling the story in this film about how now they’re using MRIs to target the desire centers of your brain for both commercials as well as movie marketing we went to San Paolo where they abandoned or advertising in the entire city for the past five years there’s no billboards there’s no posters there’s no flyers nothing and we went to school districts where now companies are making their way into cash-strapped schools all across America what’s incredible for me is the the projects that I’ve gotten the most feedback out of are I’ve had the most success and are ones where I’ve interacted with things directly and that’s what these brands did they cut out the middleman they cut out their agencies and said maybe these agencies don’t have my best interests in mind I’m gonna deal directly with the artist I’m gonna work with him to create something different something that’s going to get people thinking that’s gonna challenge the way we look at the world and how is that been for them has it been successful well since the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival let’s just take a look according to Burrell’s the movie premiered in January and since then and this is heating the whole thing we’ve had more than 900 million media impressions for this film that’s literally covering just like a two and a half week period that’s only online no print no TV the film hasn’t even been distributed yet it’s not even online it’s not even streaming it’s not even been out into other foreign countries yet so ultimately this film has already started to gain a lot of momentum and not bad for a project that almost every ad agency we talked to advise their clients not to take part what I always believe is that if you take chances if you take risks that in those risks will come opportunity I believe that when you push people away from that you’re pushing them more towards failure I believe that when you train your employees to be risk-averse then you’re preparing your whole company to be reward challenged I feel like that what has to happen moving forward is we need to encourage people to take risks we need to encourage people to not be afraid of opportunities that may scare them ultimately moving forward I think we have to embrace fear we’ve got to put that bear in a cage embrace fear embrace risk one big spoonful at a time we have to embrace risky and ultimately we have to embrace transparency today more than ever a little honesty is going to go a long way and that being said through honesty and transparency my entire talk embrace transparency has been brought to you by my good friends at EMC who for $7,100 bought the naming rights on eBay [Music] ENC turning big data into big opportunity for organizations all over the world EMC presents embrace transparency thank you very much guys [Music] morgen in the name of transparency what exactly happened to that $7,100 that is a fantastic question I have in my pocket a check made out to the parent organization of the Ted foundation the sapling foundation they check for $7,100 to be applied towards my attendance for next year’s tag [Applause]

99 thoughts on “The greatest TED Talk ever sold – Morgan Spurlock

  1. Maybe put more information into your headline instead of just self aggrandizement. 'Listen to me! It's the greatest ever!'. Right. As if I've never heard that before….. and every time I did, it was bullcrap, so don't mind me if I don't listen to you.

  2. सैटेलाईट तू मार देनां सब को हमारे पास टाईम नहीं हैं अपने हिसाब से समझ गये सैटेलाइट्स और जो बचें हम मारेगें …..खाउंगी

  3. Transparency was a good buzz word when they first used it. It's turned in to code for I'm about to lie to you. If a politician is saying they'll be transparent – BS. I haven't seen one yet that actually followed through on that one – just like most of their promises – empty.

  4. No one wanted to work with him because of what he has done in the past, he is the one who brought out the movie " Supersize me" which made look bad fast food restaurants. Companies knew he will be in behalf of public rather than their companies…

  5. What a wasted opportunity. You could have shared the common messages from your adventures but instead you chose something meaningless. I didn't get the point of what you were trying to prove or achieve sorry🤔🤔😕😐

  6. Next time you get out of your car and Lock and Arm it with a
    H O N K, please think if you would want to hear that inside your house or apartment when you are sleeping. …or for those people who live in heavily trafficked areas or by parking lots whether you would want to listen to that All Day Long. Thank you.

  7. http://www.threelly.com/ Threelly uses state of the art A.I. to analyze videos for key insights: topics, scenes, people, sentiments, and much more.

  8. What is really happening is this TED talk IS "the product placement" thing they wanted to pull off. In the guise of a story of not being able to pull it off and then doing so.The subtle misdirection and manipulation is uncanny if you look closely.The marketing industry is really a wolf in sheep's clothing.He gave the title money away because his pocket is filled with the money he received from all the companies mentioned in the talk.

  9. The comedic value alone is worth the read. The fact that most of yall domt get…is the whole point hes making

  10. I was so expecting "Cool Whip" to have bought the talk. As Matt Patt would say "Not a sponsor. Just a fan!"

  11. brand is blank…ohh and folks seeing each other….🙄

    it is easy to create brands but its hard to point and create good brand.

  12. Love how the lady came out at the end and said, "Ahem. Aren't you forgetting something? I think that money belongs to us."

  13. The title a definate winner👍👍👍 around the middle im thinking ok I got click bated😥😢 but im too far invested to not see where its going to go🙏🙏🙏 It paid off because you went totally outside the box and proved you wont always have insight, safety control statistics and be totally blind to where its going to end but isnt that the joy of living💃🕺🏞 Thanks for thinking different 🐏emc should be offering you stock options to encourge more.

  14. i’m high as a kite right now and i just now figured out what the whole point of this video was after rewatching it

  15. Goodness gracious. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Ted talk that was so focused on a single egotistical individual. This Ted talk wasn’t about anything, except how great Morgan Spurlock is.

  16. Howard Stern said negative advertising is just as good as positive advertising because whether you love me or you hate me you are curious as to why?! Therefore if you don't know why you hate me as long as you're curious it therefore becomes positive advertising. Dr Atkins in the same respect made millions on donuts even after his death…. of a heart attack… from obesity…

  17. Spurlock's success on eating McDonalds for month was flawed and biased but he got famous from that doc.

    He succeeded based on lie.

  18. What scared me really badly was when my 8 year old daughter told me she likes the commercials better than any show…..

  19. The whole time I was waiting to be rewarded for clicking on this. The first 14 minutes were treading water…AT BEST. It somewhat came together after that, but now I want to punch this guy in the face for wasting 19 minutes of my life. He's interesting. But ultimately a disconnect and a disrespect for anyone else's time

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