The Michael Moore phenomenon

I’m fascinated by Michael Moore’s success even more than I am fascinated by his message.

I saw Capitalism: A Love Story on Friday and liked it much more than Sicko, his preceding film. Despite the barrage of TV ads showing him stretching yellow police tape on Wall Street, the movie is less gimmicky and makes its point more effectively than its predecessor.

The film paints a pretty depressing picture of the state of the world. In contrast, the most positive message is the life Michael Moore has created for himself.

For starters, I think we’d agree that there’s something right about America if a controversial guy like Moore can express himself and capture so much attention so freely without being jailed by the state

But to think even bigger about this, Michael Moore’s success defies most everything I’ve been taught to believe about success.

For instance …

That documentaries, even those heavily publicized on NPR, are relegated to few theaters and short runs.

That documentary producers don’t make it to big-time TV such as The Jay Leno Show.

Or have agents such as Ari Emanuel, model for the Ari Gold character on HBO’s Entourage and brother of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. (Yes, he’s been Moore’s agent for years! He’s also the agent of Conan O’Brien, Charlize Theron and Martin Scorsese.)

That it helps to be thin and attractive (though admittedly, that’s truer for women than for men).

Michael Moore is in a class by himself for achieving huge success on his own terms.

How did he do it?


2 responses to “The Michael Moore phenomenon

  1. In marketing terms, Moore made a gigantic personal brand of himself. I’m still talking about “going to see the Michael Moore flick,” not “going to see that Capitalism movie.”

    Besides that, a portion of the public’s going to respond with interest when you put something out there that attempts to explain problems that we KNOW are real, and does so outside of conventional wisdom. (e.g., you may not agree with the content of Sicko, but it’s hard to argue that our health care system is fine the way it is.)

  2. The movie is a classic he didn’t bash one side or the other he just gave the straight up truth I give it 20 stars!!

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