The labels on video cassettes can be an emotional affair for collectors, for the distribution companies however it was often much more mundane. However, they do form an important part of the history of any distribution company, showing how trends and opinions changed as time passed offering a small window into the marketing minds of those in command.
Bearing the badge of the distribution label and vital for the identification of individual films thus avoiding confusion, they were often placed upon the cassettes in great numbers and undoubtedly by unmotivated individuals. Thereby leading to labels with creases, labels not straight and even upside down. All aspects that are curiously and maticulously inspected by collectors abound.
GO began by using a very plain white paper label holding a plethora of information, title, cat no, running time and adorably a short synopsis of the film contained within. Unlike many other firms of the time, GO chose not to adopt the top and spine label, opted merely for the former, however a gold foil simply bearing the words GO video were sometimes found on the spine, these may have been used as a security seal on the side of the boxes.
At the time of the release of the controversial SS Experiment camp the company went through a re-branding with a new logo and brand new label identity. These took the form of a generic label and were then used on all titles, with the name of the individual film printed across the center, cat no, run time and occasionally the BBFC cert as added info. Now in colour they marked a vibrant change in the commercial strategy that was to unfold as the company led the way in garish marketing ploys designed to capture the imagination and desire of a niche marketplace of horror and exploitation fans starved of material. GO used this style of label to the end, almost without omission, though occasionally the text was a different colour, for instance both pink and black lettering has been known on both SS Experiment Camp and Cannibal Holocaust.
The only other variant used by the parent brand was limited to one title in what was an anti piracy strategy. Arminius the terrible was released with a fabulous two tier sleeve and box combined as one (more of this to come in an upcoming packaging section), the label however also took a new route in that it increased the difficulty to counterfeit, as previous labels had all been paper based this new plastic coated variant would pose a much greater headache to the rapidly expanding and threatening piracy rings.
Video 7 being the forebearer of the GO family unsurprisingly used a label very similar in design to the original GO style. Black in colour to match the company's scheme they contained Title, cat no. running time, cast and the short synopsis found on early GO's.
This label was the same sticker that would be placed on the back of the carton to represent the standard synopsis usually found there. Video 7's did, unlike the parent releases, don a side label, full length of spine, black and simply displaying the title of the film.
Piccadilly cassettes wore another generic label much akin to the GO second variant, standard label with film title typed across the center,staring the now uniform, title, cat no, cert and run time. You'll note the similarity in design to the GO label and its obvious relation, central logo, border surrounding the label edge with copyright notice warning of prohibition of broadcast or copy.
Mark Video it seems, as the dustbin of the family had little consistency in labeling and over the three titles released under this moniker had three differing styles though Inhibitions and Bed Partners are both known to have been released with the green label. Once again showing a familiar style.
The plain Bed Partners label is one in a long line of plain labels often found on adult titles of the era, little imagination or effort used in its creation.
The final installment to the Mark Video stable is the fabulously curious 'Way of the Dragon 2'. A simple design that is quickly recognised as being very different in creation to all other GO labels and off shoots. The story and theories behind this title are fascinating and have collectors divided.
Donning the mark Video moniker on the sleeve as expected but surprisingly announcing its distribution by 'Films Galore ltd' of Wandsworth South London,surprisingly because GO were a distributor in their own right and more surprisingly as a few years later an odd little very very low budget horror named 'Suffer Little Children' appeared on the Films Galore Label, FGL. This is famously the only release known on the FGL label, yet the same releasing company had been marked as distributing this Mark release some years earlier.
The last two in the group are the smallest of the family, both Citycenta and Kidivid only released two titles. Citycenta followed the family uniform whilst Kidivid was slightly, very slightly more imaginative.
Prelude and its sister title the ridiculously rare 'Journey into the Beyond' had an information bare sticker, paper based like the rest but with little info other than label and film title, oh, they were however the only ones to harbour a film tagline, a neat little addition.
Kidivids were the last of the GO family to be released with bumper annual no 2 released in Sept 1983. Ending a long line of GO cassettes and labels, many following a proven design, simple, useful, clear and identifiable.
But then who said a label had to be interesting anyway?