What Would Pandora Say About YouTube Unboxing Videos?

What’s video?


I have used the idiom, “to open Pandora’s Box”. Until the other day, I never really understood why I use it or when it’s appropriate.

Wikipedia: Pandora’s box

According to Hesiod, when Prometheus stole fire from heaven, Zeus, the king of the gods, took vengeance by presenting Pandora to Prometheus’ brother Epimetheus. Pandora opened a jar left in her care containing sickness, death, and many other unspecified evils which were then released into the world. Though she hastened to close the container, only one thing was left behind – usually translated as Hope, though it could also have the pessimistic meaning of “deceptive expectation”.

From this story has grown the idiom “to open a Pandora’s box”, meaning to do or start something that will cause many unforeseen problems. A modern, more colloquial equivalent is “to open a can of worms“.

The ancient greek goddess pandora opens a box and frees evil powers.

YouTube Unboxing Videos

Unbox Therapy on YouTube has over 17 million subscribers as of March 2021. That’s incredible if you think about it.

* 17.8M subscribers on the Unbox Therapy YouTube channel as of March 2, 2021

So, unboxing videos are just someone opening a sealed box and showing you the contents inside? Yeah, pretty much. Unbox Therapy has defined this type of video: clean, focused visuals, clickable titles and thumbnails, and light reviews of the products themselves. Buying with your eyes. I have watched many of the videos to figure out which Android phone to buy. I also learn a little bit about the product that they are unboxing like where’s the charge port, does it come with a cable, how big is it, etc. Sometimes, I am not going to buy the product and still find myself watching an unboxing video.

Win-Win, Lose?

It looks like a win-win for everyone involved. The YouTube creator gets some free gear and sponsorship/affiliate money, the product manufacturers sell their products to an informed audience, and people who buy are getting something that they have experienced before.

I had a flight of fancy (another idiom) about what would Pandora herself think of unboxing videos. She might be thinking first, “What’s video?” Her inspired idiom, Pandora’s box, is associated with something bad. An unboxing video purports to be a win-win for everyone involved. Yet, people have posed the question: Should children watch toy unboxing videos? Part of the fun of buying something is experiencing the thing – discovering it, being creative with it, and learning to live with it. Nothing is perfect. I put a lot of thought into buying something: reading reviews, watching unboxing videos, and asking friends some open-ended questions. I just want to feel like I am making a good purchase decision. It feels bad when you buy something bad. I feel like I could’ve done better if I only researched a little more, watched another review video.

We are all buying stuff online during the pandemic. Another way of saying it, opening many a Pandora’s box. This means more research, more videos, more questions, and more things coming into your home that you have experienced only online.

What’s the last unboxing video that you have watched?

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