Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Personal Perspective: What's On The Box Could Be What's Inside... Depending On The Direction You're Holding It

There are so many products introduced every day that some things can just slide out from under out noses. They come in a nice and shiny box that catches the eye of the consumer and makes them feel the need that they must have this thing instead of the others in the same rack or shelf. If the product hooks you at the right moment, it's like a psiren's call and you just can't look away without buying it.

This idea leads me to the sight that I had at a local Tower Records this afternoon. I stopped by on my way home from work to just take a quick peek if something had come out. While scanning the new release rack, I was surprised to see that the film TRANSAMERICA had already been released on DVD. It seemed like it was in the local art house theatres even into this month so I didn't think I'd be seeing it on the shelves already. The cover of the DVD box even caught my eye. It is a lenticular cover, where you pivot the case back and forth and the image changes. There was a little shock in my own mind that they would go to the trouble to spend that kind of money on a DVD case for this film.

Then I picked it up and saw what the images chosen were.

The main image was of her from the film. As a transexual (male to female), she has a female look with seeming male mannerisms in the way that she holds herself. Then I switched to the other image... which looks like a photo from her day job, namely the show Desperate Housewives.

It really startled me that they would do such a thing as a way to entice the buying public to purchase this DVD. While I haven't seen the film, I really think that the "regular" look is not one that is on display in the film. It's the first image that goes through the whole film and I'd think that that would be the image to have on front of the box.

Then there came a second realization. As I walked around the store, I noticed all of the "On Sale May 23" promo stuff and that bothered feeling came right back. Every one of the promo posters, end cards, folded displays and many other versions of the same advertising all had one thing in common - a promo for the TRANSAMERICA DVD with the "regular looking" photo as the cover. They were all that way.

Now I can sort of see that they might have thought they needed to find a way to entice the normal viewer that might not have heard of the film to want to purchase it but this just feels really underhanded to me. You have this film and it's lead actress that had the balls to bring this story to the movie screen and then you go and cheapen it with this way of trying to play it safe with the imagined Middle America.


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