By C.J. Bunce
Once in a while I get gifts of food in the mail from nice people. I’ve received frozen turkeys, frozen cupcakes, frozen brownies, cold-packed chocolates. Food is good. Food as gifts from friends is even better.
So today the Fed Ex man delivers an unexpected package to my doorstep:
PERISHABLE, TIME AND TEMPERATURE SENSITIVE, OPEN IMMEDIATELY. I picked it up. It was not cold like you’d think something cold-packed would be. Someone sent me brownies! But its warm… melted? Lame.
So I brought it into the house. And the first instance of creepiness sank in. It wasn’t brownies.
Jefferson Institute. Coma Patient Care You Can Trust? Again… not brownies. The container in the box had a disturbing shape. I’d seen these on countless medical shows on TV. For a second there I was hesitant to pull the container out of the box. But I did.
At this point I was thinking. No way. Ohnotheydidn’t. Not actually send me a… human organ… but set this whole marketing thing up? This is bordering on brilliant. Genius even. At this point I knew this had to do with the new Coma TV mini-series I’d heard about at Comic-Con and received the strange brochure with a crazy scribbled remark across it:
But again, I was taken aback for a second. So what the heck is in the container? Fake heart prop? (Chocolate heart prop?)
The screener! This has to be the most brilliant screener package ever. Kudos for the marketing firm that talked someone into this campaign. Bravo!
So a little background. Once upon a time there was a movie called Coma. It starred Genevieve Bujold in arguably her best career performance as a determined but naive doctor who stumbled upon an excessive number of comas resulting from patients having routine surgeries in OR 8 of the hospital she worked in. Michael Douglas played a doctor she worked with, the great actor Richard Widmark played the evil chief of surgery, and Elizabeth Ashley played the equally vile administrator of a cold, chilling coma patient center called the Jefferson Institute. And Tom Selleck played one of the poor bastards that ended up dead as a doornail by movie’s end.
The Jefferson Institute stuck with me. It was the stuff of nightmares. I will never have surgery in a room called OR 8. Elizabeth Ashley’s “Mrs. Emerson” was right up there with Margaret Hamilton’s Wicked Witch of the West, only creepier because this was the real-world kind of creepy stuff. Heck, I once didn’t apply for a job at a company because the offices looked like the Jefferson Institute.
Flash forward to working as managing editor for The Journal of Corporation Law. We all were a little creeped out by agreed subject of the annual symposium issue. It was about the business and future of human organs–redistribution of donor organs and the like:
I remember reading the line above: “Other proposed procurement schemes, however, such as market sales and conscription, either currently are proscribed by law or are likely to encounter significant constitutional impediments.” Creepy subject. Reminded me of Coma. (Insert hair standing up on back of neck here).
Suffice it to say, with my memory of the original series, I am definitely the audience for this marketing campaign.
So yes, of course, coming soon at borg.com, look for a preview of the A&E Network mini-series, Coma, by Ridley and Tony Scott, based on Robin Cook’s novel and Michael Crichton’s screenplay for the original movie Coma, with big name actors like Richard Dreyfuss (Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind), Geena Davis (Beetlejuice, The Fly, Fletch), Ellen Burstyn (Poliitcal Animals, The Exorcist, Into Thin Air) as Mrs. Emerson, James Rebhorn (White Collar), and James Woods (John Carpenter’s Vampires), starring Lauren Ambrose (Law and Order, Torchwood), Steven Pasquale (Rescue Me), Joseph Mazzello (Jurassic Park, G.I. Joe: Retaliation) and Michael Weston (House, M.D.).