August 20, 2010 10:12 AM   Subscribe

Looking for some good documentaries on advertising, marketing, public relations & consumerism to help teach an undergraduate class! We have a list of possible documentaries already (we will show selected excerpts - not the entire thing) but were wondering if we were missing anything out and what the Hive Mind might suggest! Good "teaching moment" video clip suggestions based on Mad Men and other fictional advertising/marketing/PR/consumerism-themed films and TV shows are also welcome. Or perhaps there are even good relevant scenes from documentaries which are primarily about some other topic. Thanks for any help... it's much appreciated! Full list that we already have compiled inside...

Here is the list of marketing/advertising TV shows that we have already...
Art & Copy
Capitalism: A Love Story
Czech Dream
Food Inc.
Maxed Out
No Impact Man
No Logo
Production Notes: Fast Food for Thought
The Century of the Self
The Corporation
The End of Poverty
The Merchants of Cool
The Trap
The Yes Men
Tough Guise
Toxic Waste is Good For You
Welcome to Macintosh
What Would Jesus Buy?
posted by zresearch to Society & Culture (18 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I really liked The Persuaders, a PBS Frontline documentary.
posted by fryman at 10:39 AM on August 20, 2010

Beer Wars was surprisingly good and insightful (lil' guy vs. Big Beer).
posted by julthumbscrew at 10:41 AM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Thank You For Smoking
posted by benzenedream at 10:43 AM on August 20, 2010

What about Helvetica? It's a doc about a font, but it's also about mass marketing and design. Or The Sept. Issue?

Some of the films on your list are "spinach" docs, meaning they're not very good as films, but they're good for you to watch. I don't understand why you wouldn't show the entire film.
posted by Ideefixe at 10:49 AM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks to everyone for the suggestions so far, keep 'em coming!
Just a quick reply to Ideefixe's point - we would love to show some of these in full, but unfortunately our class time is constrained so we only have room for short clips. You're right about the "spinach" docs - but even if they make at least one good point in a scene, we might use it.
posted by zresearch at 10:55 AM on August 20, 2010

I really liked The Persuaders, a PBS Frontline documentary.

Also, consider the NYT Sunday Magazine article: 'The Hidden (in Plain Sight) Persuaders' as a reading resource. Previous FPP.
posted by ericb at 11:06 AM on August 20, 2010

The Take by Naomi Klein.

Also, this is maybe a bit out of left field, but I was first introduced to Koyaanisqatsi (meaning "life out of balance") in an advertising and communication class, and I found it very affecting. The one particular "scene" that stands out for me is the shot switching back and forth between time-lapsed people moving up and down escalators and hot dog wieners moving through a factory. I think it frames the absurdity and frenetic pace of modern life quite well.
posted by just_ducky at 11:08 AM on August 20, 2010

The CBC has a weekly thing hosted by Terry O'Reilly called The Age of Persuasion you might want to look into. Archives are online.
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:09 AM on August 20, 2010

Not a doc but the CBC radio "age of persuasion" is excellent.
"Our Brand is Crisis" comes to mind as well.
posted by jade east at 11:10 AM on August 20, 2010

Maxed Out
Blue Gold: World Water Wars
We Live In Public
Milton Glaser: To Inform & Delight
Coca-Cola - The History of an American Icon
Hand Made Nation

uh, Waynes World
posted by KogeLiz at 11:34 AM on August 20, 2010

Idiocracy? I'm thinking specifically of the many scenes with the tagline "Brawndo's got what plants crave. It's got electrolytes."
posted by purlgurly at 12:52 PM on August 20, 2010

The Gruen Transfer is an Australian show currently running that uses a panel of industry professionals to analyze current ads and the techniques used to influence consumers. You can download it for free each week.
posted by Jubey at 10:20 PM on August 20, 2010

You might want to contact some professional orgs, like The One Club or The Art Directors Club. They might have some good teaching resources for you and both have education departments.

I think The One Club put out a doc called "The Alchemists."
posted by pourtant at 7:22 AM on August 21, 2010

The Pitch.
posted by ericb at 12:33 PM on August 21, 2010

Production Notes by Jason Simon
posted by Morpeth at 6:01 PM on August 21, 2010

Any of Jean Kilbourne's documentaries on advertising.
posted by SisterHavana at 10:14 PM on August 21, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for all your suggestions, everyone!!
posted by zresearch at 8:01 PM on August 22, 2010

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