For his forthcoming documentary POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (and yes, that's a sponsor in the title), Morgan Spurlock wanted a theme song – something anthemic, something mid-tempo, something that could actually be called the greatest song ever sold. He turned to OK Go, asking them during an interview for the documentary.
"The official offer came on camera," bassist/vocalist Tim Nordwind tells Rolling Stone. "It's kind of a blur, but we more or less made up our minds that we wanted to do it."
After Spurlock told Nordwind and singer/guitarist Damian Kulash that he wanted something like "This Too Shall Pass" from the band's third album Of the Blue Colour of the Sky, they came up with a couple of treatments and demo'd a few songs. The winner was the "The Greatest Song I Ever Heard," which references Bob Dylan's plugged-in appearance at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival and mid-period Beatles.
"I think Damian was really smart to do it that way," Nordwind says, "because it's more about someone freaking out about the greatest song, rather than trying to be the greatest song."
OK Go sat for the Spurlock interview while on tour in Colorado. The band prepped for the encounter by going to an arts and crafts store to make signs, medallions and glasses to wear on camera. The end result is that the band does a bit of marketing while doing an interview about, well, marketing – with Nordwind holding up a a copy of the band's latest album.
"We knew about the premise of the film, so we thought it would be kind of funny for me to be a walking billboard, so you could not fail to notice that it's OK Go," he says. "I thought maybe Morgan would shoot it down, but he was really into it."
So what's the next step for the band's marketing strategy? Coming up with an unforgettable music video – possibly with Spurlock as the director. "Morgan's general approach is really great, and really transparent," Nordwind says. "He has an idea, he wants to make it, and in this film, he wants someone to pay for it. And that's sort of the way we've worked over the years. We're always about finding a good, fun idea to work on, and figuring out its place in the world. It's a similar journey."