Lynda Resnick sure knows how to take a joke.
The L.A. billionaire agreed to have her Pom Wonderful back filmmaker Morgan Spurlock’s latest documentary – a humorous take on product placement – even though the pomegranate juice maker risked being the butt of the joke.
Spurlock, who leaped to fame with his 2004 documentary “Super Size Me,” in which he only ate McDonald’s food for a month, is now out with “Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.” The twist in this one? The filmmaker is trailed as he pitches companies on sponsoring the film and then tries out their products. At one point, he washes his hair with Mane ’n Tail shampoo, said to be good for humans and horses alike.
The film ultimately attracted 22 sponsors, with most bankrolling the production, and Resnick pledged $1 million to be the title sponsor. In the movie, Resnick and Pom executives are shown brainstorming ad concepts with Spurlock.
“Believe me, it was a leap of faith,” said Resnick, who owns Pom along with her husband, Stewart, through their Roll Global holding company. “Who knew how it would be cut? He could do what he wanted.”
The gamble has paid off so far. The film was a hit at the Sundance Film Festival and Spurlock has been promoting it, wearing a jacket emblazoned with the sponsors’ logos. Spurlock did an interview with political satirist Stephen Colbert during which both drank bottles of Pom Wonderful and marveled at the juice’s benefits: “I understand if you drink this, you will never die,” Colbert said. “And it’s 40 percent as effective as Viagra they say,” Spurlock quipped.
Joking aside, Spurlock was in the middle of editing the film when the Federal Trade Commission formally charged Pom with advertising false health claims. Spurlock said he considered addressing the allegations, but decided to leave it out.
“We said, ‘Let’s make the film and let’s have the journalists start to talk about it or ask the questions,’” Spurlock said.
Resnick’s feisty personality is on full display in the film, which she said she would make all over again.
“I think the FTC tried to make a poster boy out of Pom. And it may take a long time, but I think in the end people will see they barked up the wrong Pom tree,” she said. “People will see Pom has a sense of humor about itself. We like to be in on the joke, and we are happy we weren’t the butt of the joke.”
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