Customers Complain About 12 Years A Slave Store Mannequin
Stores are always on the lookout for ways to jazz up their displays. The more eyeballs they can attract, the more merchandise they’ll sell, at least in theory. Unfortunately, an attempt to add a little pizzazz to a display of 12 Years A Slave has devolved into accusations, apologies and plenty of regret.
The design choice seen in the above tweet happened at the Oxford location of popular chain store Sainsbury’s. The display features a sizeable collection of Blu-rays and DVDs, a large poster outlining the various stars and, of course, a mannequin dressed in roughly the same ripped clothes as main character Solomon Northup is seen wearing throughout 12 Years A Slave. There are also brightly-colored signs that say "New" everywhere. Curious customers took some pictures of threads, and they quickly ended up on Twitter along with disgruntled responses like this one...
The exposure has created a mini-scandal and led to a lightning fast apology from Sainsbury’s.
"We can only apologise. It’s been taken down from the Heyford Hill store and clearly should never have gone up in the first place."
There are some who will tell you the above display is racist or that the above apology doesn’t make up for what happened, but it seems like more of an issue of poor decision-making than anything else. Whoever designed this display was clearly looking for a way to make it stand out, realized the most basic pieces of his outfit were already in the store, got the scissors out and went from there. Dumb? Absolutely. Mean-spirited? Almost certainly not.
If a larger point can be made here, it’s probably that store owners should be more careful when marketing films with emotional subject matter. If a movie means something larger to people, then the utmost care has to be taken to be respectful and forthright when using it to make money. That obviously didn’t happen here. In fact, it can probably be compared to a far, far, far, far more tame example of the 9/11 Museum gift shop controversy.
12 Years A Slave won over both critics and the general public en route to a better than expected box office performance and a win at the Academy Awards. It was directed by Englishman Steve McQueen, and while we won’t know how much cultural impact it will truly have until decades from now, this controversy is a nice reminder of the high esteem in which many hold it.
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