My boyfriend and I went to the Bodies Revealed show at Foxwoods Casino yesterday. We have been talking about going for months, maybe even a year. I was especially excited about it because I’ve always been pretty scared of what’s going on inside our bodies. I never got the unpleasant opportunity to dissect a frog or baby pig in high school and have sort of made it my business to stay away from blood and guts at all costs. For some reason though, the Bodies Revealed show was intriguing. I didn’t get the overwhelming feeling of wanting to run in the opposite direction when I heard about it, so I figured it might be okay to check it out. Here’s the underwhelming story and why I felt compelled to tell you my review (it does have an interesting twist, I promise I won’t waste your time).
Sunday, August 30, 2009 3:30 PM – We arrive at the ticket booth and the woman selling the tickets asks if we want the audio tour or the regular tour. The regular tour consists of no sound or stories, and the audio tour consists of “tons more interesting facts and really adds to the experience.” We buy the audio add-on for $10.
Next, we’re greeted by a photographer who has us pose in front of a giant green screen. She says nothing to us, just “stand right there”. It’s pretty obvious what you’re supposed to do when someone has a camera in your face, but I’m not a big fan of getting my picture taken without any explanation. After the picture, she said, “you can go right in”. It was obvious to me at this point that they were going to try to sell us a picture at the end, but I always dislike when you are treated like you don’t have a brain and you can’t make the choice for yourself. I get it – if we don’t get the picture taken, we can’t see how cute we look on the fake background..but what’s the deal with no communication or information about what to expect? Problem #1.
Anyway, we go in with our “audio add ons” and the first thing we see is the human skull in a glass box. The display says something about how the skull is broken up into so many pieces and how it fits together. Okay, great. The second thing we see is the femur bone, cut open, so you can see the spongy part. Next is a baby’s skull, a few more skulls, the human skeleton, and a couple more bones in glass boxes. There are short descriptions next to each one that say where the bone is in the body, what it does, what you wouldn’t be able to do without them, etc. Nothing particularly fascinating, just information.
The next room is the muscle room. They have a guy on a bike with his skin shaved off, another guy with a baseball bat, and another guy throwing a baseball. They are all positioned in action poses so you can see what it looks like when they’re moving. It was okay, but nothing spectacular.
I won’t bore you with all the details, but they took us through the brain and spinal cord room, the nervous system, the organs, reproductive system, and then we saw all these paper thin bodies that looked like they were put through the meat slicer at the deli. It was showing each layer of a human body from one side to the other. We saw some fetuses at different phases of development, and some cancerous lungs.
Okay, the cancerous lungs were the most interesting because they were something I could actually RELATE to and cared about. They even had a big bin that you could throw your cigarettes in once you saw it. It was about 1/8 full. I’m not sure if that was just from today or not, but they should have put a sign on it to show the last time it was emptied, that would have been interesting.
The reason I’m telling you all of this: You would think a show about the human body from the inside out would be the most mind blowing experience, but it wasn’t. I was totally unimpressed with the presentation. 2 minutes into it, I thought, is this a presentation for pre-med students, or the general public? There were no gruesome facts, deformities, fat bodies, nothing! Part of me kept saying “okay, this isn’t Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, try to look interested”…but it was hard to act interested when it gave me nothing to be captivated by.
Here’s what I would have done differently:
1. I would have included things that people like me actually care about, like the body of someone who ate at McDonalds every day, what it did to the arteries, body mass index, blood pressure, etc.
2. It also would have been great to see the muscles of a body builder without steroids, and one who did use them.
3. I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of knots in our muscles. Every time I get a massage, the Massage Therapist points out all my “knots”. What are these things? Can I see one, please? Still a mystery to me.
4. What does the body of an anorexic person look like? I’ve heard about muscles eating themselves if they don’t get enough protein. What does that look like?
5. What about a victim of a drunk driving accident? What if they had a picture of the accident, and then the body of the driver? They could include the blood alcohol level, the story about how it happened, and what it did to his body.
6. How about interesting diseases, and how they affect the body? We saw the brain of someone with Alzheimers, but what about a giant tumor or someone who died of frost bite?
What I’m getting at here is the cause and effect factor. I’m not a Doctor. I have absolutely no interest in being one, and I hardly remember anything I learned yesterday. This is because I couldn’t relate to any of it. It was boring and I was detached from it. Besides the fact that I happen to own one of these human bodies, I felt like no time or energy went into the idea of considering the audience.
I’m assuming they weren’t trying to market only to the medical field. If they were, they probably wouldn’t have put it at Foxwoods. Probably would have made more sense to hold it at a Medical Convention. They targeted us, the general public, who probably have a low level of experience when it comes to chats about the cerebellum or cerebral cortex. Yet, the whole display made it sound like we had this high level of experience with it.
The point of the story and why I wanted to write this:
The Bodies Revealed showcase had a great idea. They marketed it well. They spent a lot of money to somehow get people to agree to be in the show, create the displays, set it up in a pretty cool way, and execute it. The only problem was: their content was dry, they stopped at mediocre, and did not leave me wanting more.
So, when you are considering a product or service for the market place, are you stopping at mediocre or are you creating something compelling enough that people will want to tell their friends? I almost considered not writing this blog because I didn’t really want to talk about how unremarkable the show was, but felt getting this point out there was more important. I must say I don’t recommend going unless you have to choose between this and a coma.
The nugget: If you’re going to do something, consider your audience and make sure you do it well enough that they want to tell everyone they know about it.
PS-The audio add on was a total waste of money and the picture of us on the green screen was just another example of doing something mediocre. The show left us in the gift shop and there wasn’t even a person at the end saying “thanks for coming”.
Overall rating: D (they did a nice job with the lighting, I’ll give them that much)