50 Shades of Franchise
Calico Rudasil is a feature columnist for Sssh.com, the web’s original erotic site for women by women. With over 16 years’ experience of writing about and for the adult entertainment industry under her belt, Calico qualifies as something of a Web Porn Dinosaur; similar to a tyrannosaurus, only with far more attractive arms and a less pronounced overbite.
Today, we’re happy to have Calico Rudasil come by the Sex.com Blog and vent her 50 Shades franchise frustration.
Let me just admit up front that I haven’t read the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy, and I don’t plan to. I don’t have a particularly good reason for refusing to crack its cover, really – except for the fact that 50 Shades started out life as Twilight fan-fiction, and I’m neither 13 years old nor a fan of vampire and/or werewolf stories.
I don’t need to have read 50 Shades to know a marketing franchise that’s spinning out of control when I see one, though. All I have to do is read a sick-making press release about a new line of 50 Shades of Grey wine, and my eyes begin to roll involuntarily – and not in a good way like sometimes happens while in the middle of a particularly intense orgasm.
Seriously; try reading just a few lines of the wine’s marketing text for yourself, and tell me it doesn’t make your stomach turn in a way that you wouldn’t expect until after you’d knocked back a couple bottles of the stuff:
“Wine plays an important role in Fifty Shades of Grey, adding to the sensuality that pervades a number of encounters between the characters. I’ve always had a penchant for good wine, so combining two of my passions to blend Red Satin and White Silk was a natural extension of the Fifty Shades trilogy. I hope all of you curl up with a glass as you enjoy the romance between Anastasia and Christian.”
On top of inspiring nausea the likes of which I haven’t experienced since the President’s last State of the Union address, that paragraph alone makes me want to combine two of my passions: traveling the English countryside and firing high caliber automatic weapons.
When it comes to relevance-stretching product extensions from the worlds of literature and film, it gets a lot worse than a series of erotic novels spinning out an accompanying wine – but that’s precisely what I’m afraid of here. With the 50 Shades movie lurking off in the near future somewhere, we’re bound to have a variety of other bondage-spiced tchotchkes and XXX trinkets foisted upon us along the line.
Picture, for example, Anastasia and Christian BDSM Action Figures, the former to include flexible limbs that you can contort into appropriately submissive positions, without ever losing the Kung Fu Grip she needs in order to maintain grasp of her tiny toy wine glass, of course!
I wonder which fast food chain will land the honor of offering the official 50 Shades combo meal? If the color of the meat matters, McDonalds is a shoe-in with its chicken nuggets. They could serve 50 Shades of Dollar Menu items on a paper placemat festooned with a bondage-themed word jumble and a connect-the-dots cat o’ nine tails, and the Happy Meal version could include a petite pair of plastic handcuffs!
Of course, no Hollywood franchise is truly complete without one of the major soda companies releasing a special franchise-themed run of their cans and bottles. Ever the ‘extreme’ soft drink of choice, Mountain Dew would be the natural choice (“Please Your Master: Do the Dew!”), except that McDonalds features Coca Cola products, so I guess it will be “Have a Coke and Grimace of Agony!” instead.
The choice of which major professional team sport to align the 50 Shades brand with probably will be determined by the timing of the movie’s release. If it drops in late summer or early fall, the NFL’s unique blend of bone-jarring brutality and yawn-inducing boredom take the prize. (“As Christian breaks the huddle, it’s fourth down and all the way to go!”)
Slightly later in the fall, and we could find ourselves graced with another ‘James’ – the Kingly LeBron – delivering awkward dual-brand slogans to the camera during TV ad breaks. “If you think I know how to handle the ball, wait until you see me work the ball-gag! Catch 50 Shades of Grey in theaters this Friday and watch me spank the Celtics next Tuesday night on TNT!”
In truth, I really can’t blame E.L. James and Co. for seeking to milk the 50 Shades brand for every ounce of greenbacks they can squeeze out of that masochistic mofo; it’s not like new vampire-vs-werewolf books and movies come out every day (it’s every other day, tops), so it’s not at all clear that E.L. will ever again be inspired to put out something with such immense franchise potential. Sure, she could bang out some more sequels (50 Shades of Played Out), or try her hand at a sci-fi spinoff (50 Shades of Spock), but in all likelihood, the existing trilogy is going to prove E.L.’s magnum opus.
And speaking of ‘magnums,’ just in case you were concerned that there might not be a 50 Shades-branded condom on the market…. those actually came out in June.
Big thanks to Calico Rudasill and everyone at Sssh.com!