Loot Crate is a subscription based website that each month ships a themed mystery box of geek, gaming, and pop culture gear. They send out boxes of merchandise that companies give them as promotional items. These promotional items range anywhere from different kinds of clothing, toys, and candy; and are from some of the biggest brands in the business. One of the biggest trends in the Loot Crate community is their “unboxings”. Each month, as people receive their crates, they videotape their reactions and upload them to YouTube. Some of Youtube’s most prominent users from the geek and gaming communities participate in Loot Crate unboxings, such as Markiplier, Mortem3r, and Egoraptor.
Loot Crate never asked for this response; Not at first, but as people started to get their packages, they wanted to share feedback about what they received. Every Loot Crate box is identical, but every “Looter”, as they have been dubbed, has a different opinion about what they got that month. Jack Lule said in Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication:
“Historically, popular culture has been closely associated with mass media that introduce and encourage the adoption of certain trends. We can see these media as “tastemakers”—people or institutions that shape the way others think, eat, listen, drink, dress and more. Similar in some ways to the media gatekeepers discussed above, tastemakers can have huge influence.”
In a way these people are becoming tastemakers. As they show what they got this month, the people who watch decide whether or not to buy into Loot Crate.
While unboxing videos are done for almost everything these days, Loot Crate seems to benefit from the free publicity. The unboxing videos are probably Loot Crates most effective advertisement. When they started, they asked a few prominent YouTube users to showcase what was in their Loot Crate boxes and talk about the company to their followers who would have fit their demographic. After this, people who subscribed started doing the same. Lule goes on to say, “ along with encouraging a mass audience to keep an eye out for (or skip) certain movies, television shows, video games, books, or fashion trends, tastemaking is also used to create demand for new products.” These unboxers help create demand for this product; for Loot Crate and all of the brands and companies that supply merchandise for them. I learned about Loot Crate from a few different places. I heard it mentioned on podcasts and by friends, but really didn’t think anything of it until I saw my first unboxing. The unboxing showed what everyone got, how they felt about each item, and I saw it from one of my favorite YouTube channels. The videos caught my interest like no other medium did and I found myself wanting everything that these people got in their Loot Crate boxes.
Although I don’t have a subscription to Loot Crate, mainly because of how unreliably my packages are delivered, I still watch unboxings from all my favorite YouTubers to see what they got and how they felt. People whose opinions would normally go unheard are becoming influential as viewers continue watching their unboxings. I imagine Loot Crate will stay around for a while, while the “Subscription box” fad is still popular, but I think the unboxing of items will stay around well after that. From now on, as long as there is a box, there will be an unboxing.