Tutting and sighing

Posted: March 3, 2015

The March issue of ETO was put to bed not long after the Fifty Shades of Grey movie was released. And if you have no interest in in it then then you’ll probably be doing a considerable amount of tutting and sighing as you make your way through its pages this month. We’ve devoted a fair few of them to it, including covering the coverage it received in the mainstream media.

Has the release of a single film ever enjoyed so much exposure? If so, I cannot remember it. And it effortlessly crossed continents, starring on television news reports, filling acres of newspaper columns and racking up millions more Google results as it spread.

It is, by any definition of the word, a phenomenon.

As fascinating as this might be from a cultural point of view, our interest in it stems from what happened the last time the words “Fifty Shades” were on the lips of the woman in the street , when the popularity of the books was the direct cause of ‘the great jiggle ball shortage of 2012’. Those adult firms who were quick to climb aboard the bandwagon back then did very well indeed.

This time we should all have been prepared. As far back as the August 2014 issue of ETO, in this very column, I wrote about the film: “Forewarned is forearmed and not only do we know that it’s coming, we also know the exact date of its arrival, allowing adult retailers to draw up their battle plans and form strategic alliances well in advance. The release of the movie will truly be a one-off happening for the pleasure products sector so I hope we all make the most of it. You can bet your mortgage that Lovehoney will…”

Okay, you didn’t need to be Mystic Meg to know in advance that the Bath-based boys would capitalise on the movie’s release but I was delighted to see so many other retailers do so too. As an example, take Vibez Adult Boutique in Aylesford, Kent: not only did it create a cinema ad but it also installed a dedicated Red Room in-store to cater for the resulting new batch of customers.

I respectfully doff my cap to you all.