TED Talks and Morgan Spurlock: The Business of Product Placement

If you’re on either side of the table, as a marketing professional being pitched a sponsorship or as an organization seeking out potential partners, check out Morgan Spurlock: The Greatest TED Talk Ever Sold (see the trailer above), which carefully covers the world and making of and, POM WONDERFUL PRESENTS: THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER SOLD.  (Hey, they paid for the rights… POM WONDERFUL deserves the credit!)

For the past 2 1/2 years, I’ve been in the sponsorship world for, yes, a film festival.  We’ve had the “Nestle CRANBERRY Raisinets Audience Awards” and the “AirTran Airways Audience Awards.”  We’ve had “Olive Garden Italian Cinema Night.”  We’ve had “Peroni and Popcorn: A Hitchcock Happy Hour.”  (Okay, for that one, I have to admit that our Director of Operations loves alliteration.)  In all of our press releases, we make sure to state, “…the Florida Film Festival, sponsored by Full Sail University…”

So, what better way to combine my interest in naming rights, the film industry and my passion for continuing education?  Last night, as we watched the TED Talk, I laughed, knowingly and with much appreciation, as Spurlock told of his journey approaching potential sponsor after potential sponsor.  Sometimes, you know exactly how you’re able to garner attention for the company.  Sometimes, you have a vague idea and have to hope the person on the other side of the table is receptive and responsive enough to meet your “science fiction” ideas halfway.  (Like, say, offering each person you interview Ban deodorant to calm potential nerve-induced perspiration).

But I ask you, what is the greatest sponsorship relationship you’ve ever experienced?

Opportunities for Improvement

Each year, following our largest event (the Florida Film Festival, April 8-17, in which 25,000 attendees enjoy a whopping 165 films over 10 fabulous days), we ask our staff to write a series of departmental “Post Morts” following the Festival.  In theory, we all keep records of our triumphs and issues throughout the event but, without fail, life gets busy.

This year, we one of our team members, whose calm, unflustered approach to each issue is an incredible strength to all of us, suggested that, as issues arise over the 10 days, we should think of them not as problems, but as “Opportunities for Improvement.”

I love this thought process, and the phrase has resonated with the rest of our team.  So much so that our Project Manager sent us a link to a branded Wufoo form he created yesterday afternoon; we’re all now able to fill this out as soon as an “Opportunity” arises so as not to forget it once the moment passes.  With Wufoo, a free, online form builder, we’re able to bookmark the site on our mobile devices and fill out the form remotely anytime, anywhere.  (On the back end, all items can be collected into an easy-to-sort Excel document and analyzed from there.) 

Fields include:

  • Name of Person Filling Out Form
  • Location of Occurrence
  • Date and Time of Occurrence
  • Event
  • Issue
  • Resolution
  • Other Notes

Teamwork Makes All the Difference

Today was admittedly another long, long day at the office.  So much so that, as I was driving home in the horrendous storms that plagued Central Florida last week, my father asked me, in jest, why I was leaving work at the early, early hour of 6 p.m.  “Dad, it’s the only thing that can stop us right now!” I replied.  “We lost power!”

I’m watching my team work harder and harder each day as we reach the finish line: the 10-day Florida Film Festival, taking place in just a few days, April 8-17.  During this time, 25,000 people will descend upon Central Florida to watch 160 films, and we couldn’t be more excited.  Ok, yes, tired, but excited.

Filmmaker schedules must be wrapped, sponsor goals met, Platinum Pass Patrons informed, ticket packages redeemed, niche films marketed, movies dubbed into their correct formats, bars stocked, tents erected, and about 837 other items before week’s end.  But we do it as a team.

And as I watch our team, I know there are many things that keep us together.  But 5 stand out:

  • Passion.  We all love what we do, and couldn’t be more thrilled than to be able to do it for a Festival with national recognition… for its heart, according to MovieMaker Magazine, and its success.
  • Respect.  We respect each other and the work that each person and department does, showing it by meeting deadlines, lending a kind word, and keeping a courteous attitude whenever possible.
  • “Thank you.”  When we’re all running on just a few hours of sleep a night, this means more than you know.  I find my team members are never afraid to say thank you, whether it be when someone takes a meeting, lends a second set of eyes to a written document, or opens a door.
  • A weekly meeting… or two.  This helps keep us all informed, organized, and on track in a company that works out of two separate buildings.  The face time is helpful, as is the agenda that keeps the meetings a manageable length.
  • Other duties as assigned.  Sure, we’re a small company.  But everyone from part-timers to director-level positions end up taking out recycling, changing toner, manning booths, and clearing leaves out of parking lot drains during previously mentioned storms.

And so, as under eye circles darken and I begin to require more and more caffeine, I have to say that I’m incredibly, unbelievably proud of the amount of teamwork that went into this event.