Apr 15, 2011 at 11:42 AM
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Sponsors Pay More If Spurlock Doc Meets Milestones

Turning down product placement of a documentary that goes on to achieve blockbuster success is the Hollywood version of taking a pass on a hot start-up's seed round. According to the Altoona Mirror, hometown convenience store, Sheetz almost missed out on a boatload of options, but still found a way to cut a deal. Initially, Sheetz, almost passed on Morgan Spurlock's spoof doc, "POM Wonderful presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold."

Spurlock's reputation proceeded him on product placement inquiries, the paper writes. After "Supersize Me," getting brand marketers to take his call, much less write six figure checks, was tough.

"I didn't return his call," Executive Vice President for Marketing Louie Sheetz told AltoonaMirror.com. "I didn't want to speak to that man."

As it is, the two parties connected, and while Sheetz passed on the $1 million title sponsorship that would have made the film "Sheetz Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold," Spulock was able to secure a $100,000 deal that the paper reports "will go as high as $250,000 if the movie reaches designated milestones of success."

Sheetz didn't reveal what the milestones were for the 2.5x earn-out, but it's safe to say that the film has exceeded expectations in terms of buzz. Nevertheless, it's an interesting case study for how properties may be able to use earn-out provisions to create "can't refuse" offers.

"We didn't really know quite what to expect when we first started this thing. We took a chance getting involved in this project," says Stan Sheetz, president and CEO, Sheetz, Inc., "We could look like total idiots or complete geniuses when it's all said and done?so far it's working out in our favor."

And to resolve any angst over Spurlock's roasting of McDonald's in Supersize Me, the company smartly obtained a clause in the contract that prohibits corporate disparagement.

On April 27th, Sheetz will send a bus to pick Spurlock, members of his cast and other sponsors up at the airport, and head to Altoona City Hall, where about 100 Sheetz employees will be waiting on the front steps of City Hall. Spurlock will present the City of Altoona with a $25,000 check to officially rename the city "POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold" for 60 days.

"Practically everything in America is for sale these days," quips Altoona mayor Bob Schirf. "Sporting events, stadium names, they all have a price tag, so we thought, 'why wouldn't we market our town the same way?' It's all in good fun."

Photobucket #newstag

#newstag photo credit