Gimmicks encourage sales. That’s a solid fact when it comes to marketing. And VHS video releases were no exception as they employed everything from 3D covers with light up eyes (Imperial Entertainment’s The Dead Pit and Metamorphosis), talking boxes (Shapiro - Glickenhaus’ Frankenhooker), and of course, that natural allure of the almighty big box (see Lunchmeat issue #4 for my write-up on these and a slew of other gimmicky vids!).
But I had recently been sent a tape (thanks to Rob from Wild Eye Releasing!) with one of the most amusing (and well-conceived) gimmicks I’ve come across: a flick called Lotto Land that, get this, offers a FREE lottery ticket inside the box! The flick itself is a mid-90s independent urban dramedy, directed by John Rubino and filmed on location in New York concerning a $27 million dollar lottery ticket and its influence on the four main characters. If you ever wind up sitting in front of this flick for any reason, watch for a bit part from Paul Lemos, founder and main brain for the wildly prolific and genre-defying group CONTROLLED BLEEDING.
I’m willing to speculate that the free lottery ticket only lasted for the promotional and possibly the initial retail runs for this flick. The version I have is promo only and sports the emblem advertising the free lotto ticket, but I have yet to come across any retail versions having the same emblem. I’d like to think that the producers of the VHS would keep this awesome idea around long enough to spread into the retail world, but until I find a copy, I can only surmise.
As for the ticket itself, the grand prize was valued at $2,700. Kind of a random number, right? Possibly a reflection of the $27 million ticket portrayed in the film? Either way, that’s pretty penny to potentially stick in your pocket just for picking up a video, and I imagine (as I’m sure the marketing folks did!) people were apt to pick up this video as opposed to the next just because of the chance involved. And the correlation with the theme of the flick is genius. There is simply no better gimmick you could tack on to this flick. And much to my surprise, I actually won a dollar on the ticket! A winner I am! Alas, there’s no way the New York Lottery is going to honor this bad boy seeing as I’m about 15 years too late. Doesn’t bother me, though. I find it rad that I’ve actually got a winning ticket; it adds to the awesomeness of this piece of VHS video nostalgia.
Don’t be shy and reply to let us know about some of your favorite gimmicks from videos through the years: special boxes, giveaways, etc.
Stay tuned to for my next blog piece where I’ll be bringing you Videovores a VHS set released on orange colored cassettes . . . they’re killer!
- Josh Schafer (7.14.2011)