April 28, 2011 / 6:09 PM / 7 years ago

For next 60 days -- and for $25,000 -- Pa. city renames self

PITTSBURGH (Reuters) - A cash-strapped city in Pennsylvania temporarily renamed itself after a new documentary by independent filmmaker Morgan Spurlock in exchange for $25,000, officials said on Thursday.

For the next 60 days, the city of Altoona will be known as “POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold,” the title of the film, according to Mayor William Schirf.

Local economic development officials pitched the idea to the city on behalf of Spurlock and Sheetz Inc., an Altoona-based convenience store chain that agreed to pay up to $250,000 to be featured in the film, he said. The city council approved the name change unanimously in mid-April.

Spurlock and Sheetz Inc. was one of 15 companies the “Super Size Me” director convinced to pay a total of $1.5 million to fund the film, which examines corporate marketing, product placement and brand integration.

“They sold us on it,” Schirf said. “We’re like lots of cities across America having economic difficulties.”

The money will be donated to Altoona’s police department to support training and crime-fighting, he said.

Spurlock visited the city in western Pennsylvania on Wednesday for the film’s East Coast premiere, which included a parade and proclamation by the mayor. The filmmaker wore a suit adorned with the logos of the movie’s sponsors.

Reporting by Daniel Lovering; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Jerry Norton

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