Some children are taken to see the latest cartoon movies in childhood–but for me, some of my fondest memories include seeing documentaries with my dad. I remember seeing Super Size Me with my whole family, and the effect it had on me for years to come. When I found out that Morgan Spurlock was a keynote speaker at the PRSA National Conference, I was thrilled, but confused. What would a documentarian have to offer to a group of public relations professionals?
Spurlock did not disappoint. While he did dedicate time to describing his films and the process of making them, he built up to an interesting anecdote about the importance of market research and campaign promotion.
When Super Size Me premiered, the film was shown to many age groups, and surprising to Spurlock was the popularity of the film in middle-school and high-school demographics. The son of teachers, Spurlock understood how many production companies will charge high rates to schools for movies that include supplemental classroom material, so he made sure that he could offer a kid-friendly and educational package at the lowest rate possible.
Spurlock offered a great product at a convincing price point, and it worked. Within a year’s time, Super Size Me was shown in thousands of schools across the country. The documentary has surpassed the status of usual independent films, and is recognized and loved by millennials who watched it as teens. The film is still used in schools today.
The director discussed some of his other ventures as well, which gave insight into the use and importance of storytelling in any campaign. It’s clear that the expertise he brings to his hilarious and poignant documentaries transfers to the other works he produces, and his examples offer insights that easily apply to the work of every PR professional in attendance.
It was sessions like these that truly enhanced my Conference experience. As a senior, I’m hoping to find a home within the professional organization as I depart my beloved student chapter. Our organization is home to many soon-to-graduate seniors, and I hope each and every member is looking forward to a future in PRSA, and the exciting opportunities that await.