In a (Jurassic) World…
Back in late 2014 when many fans were having mixed feelings about the distribution method of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser trailer, another movie franchise was revving up its marketing campaign. By November a website called Masrani Global appeared online, giving background on the fictional corporation that will be a part of this summer’s Jurassic World. A countdown to the teaser trailer soon followed on social media ending in a surprise early online release.
Often the stories and visuals of movies create a world (or galaxy) of their own, and I love it when the marketing team jumps on that to expand that experience beyond the movie itself. Exploring the Masrani website reveals the company now running the park after buying InGen following the passing of Dr. Hammond. It confirms Jurassic World has been open since 2005 on Isla Nubar, which fans will remember as the site of the first Jurassic Park. Further inspection shows the other businesses in the Masrani portfolio, a few videos, photos, and some in-between-the-movies background on at least one more previous movie character. You can even apply for one of their job openings in the event you’ve always wanted to be a dinosaur veterinarian. And don’t worry – this is “the safest theme park in the world.”
What’s more, this website is being updated. The CEO (a new character to the franchise) has a blog which recently revealed the name of a new dinosaur they’ve been working on, which also ties into the commercial that ran during the Super Bowl. There’s now even a section on the park’s website about that addition to the park and guess what, it opens the same month as the movie.
The beautiful thing about the second website is that it’s a treasure-trove for fans of the Jurassic Park franchise while still being a cool venue for a new fan to wander through. The Jurassic World park website is set up like a real theme park portal with neat features like current park capacity (which actually changes at different times of day), attraction wait times, and upcoming events. As I wrote this, the website was telling me about a T-Rex feeding at 8pm. It’s technically trendy too in it’s incorporation of user-activated video, non-traditional navigation, and parallax scrolling.
You can see the range of ticket packages available (trying to buy any will take you to Fandango to get your movie tickets), view an interactive map of the park (I’m taking note of where the first aid stations are and that the ferry landing is quite a hike if you needed to get off the island), and watch what’s going on through “live park cams”. You can view the menu of an in-park steakhouse for goodness sake. I was already looking forward to the movie, but now I’ve gotten a taste of how thoughtful its world is and I’m even more excited, which I’m sure is exactly what the people behind this were intending.
There’s just one hiccup in my delight. In the newsfeed section of the Jurassic World viral site, there are blocks about buying Jurassic World apparel. I thought it’d be cool if it actually let you do that, and lo and behold, when you click on the two options, it takes you here and here. That is where the shine of the experiential magic began to wear off. There are no shirts intended for an adult woman. The first group (the classics) is all men’s and boy’s shirts with the exception of one unisex shirt. I’ll admit unisex is slightly better for comfort than wearing a men’s shirt when you have the body of a woman, but it rarely fits as well as a woman’s shirt. Plus, this means I have one design to choose from of the nine on that page. The second site (new designs) has among the eight additional men’s and boy’s shirts one design option in girl’s and junior’s sizes (which would be a tight fit). Nothing in my experience with the Jurassic World marketing campaign made me consider that they might not think this movie was for me until right there with the merchandising.
And that’s often the case for women, isn’t it? I own several men’s shirts connected to movies I’ve loved from times when there was no women’s option. I end up not wearing them that often because they’re not that comfortable or the fit isn’t really in-line with what I usually wear. A few times I’ve taken a needle and thread to them in an attempt to adapt. Furthermore I wonder how the people making these decisions will ever know women wanted to be included in their plans too. When a woman buys a men’s shirt for her fandom, the numbers say a bunch of men’s shirts were purchased and therefore men’s shirt designs were justified. It’s something the contributors of FANgirl have mentioned in various venues: There are women saying “Take my money!” and companies effectively saying “No, that’s ok. We have enough.”
My little sister grew up loving and studying dinosaurs. It’s because of her that I first watched Jurassic Park. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen it since. I’ve seen both sequels. I realized how much scarier the movies could have been by reading the original Michael Crichton novel. And now this movie is on my list of movies to look out for in 2015. Hopefully by the time Jurassic World comes out in June, there will be more options in the merchandise. The concept of this movie is intriguing and they’ve clearly put a lot of thought into all the other aspects of their plans.
Kay grew up wanting to be an astronaut. After seeing Star Wars, she wanted to be Princess Leia, Han Solo, and an astronaut. Currently a voice actor, photographer, and artist who also consults in communications and marketing, Kay spends the little bit of free time she has reading, writing, learning and, of course, making pew pew noises. She would pick up more jobs and hobbies if she was a Time Lord. You can follow her on Twitter.
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