With five years and 62 books under its belt, Goosebumps is entering a new phase in its frighteningly successful life.
Parachute Consumer Products, which took over the Goosebumps mantle from Scholastic in January of this year, has launched two new Goosebumps-dedicated boutiques-one at Disney-MGM Studios in Florida, the other at FAO Schwarz in New York City-and announced the launch of the Goosebumps Series 2000 book line by Parachute and its publisher, Scholastic Inc.
The new line signals the end of the original Goosebumps, and the beginning of an edgier, scarier creative direction that will also permeate the licensed product.
While the new book line isn’t scheduled to launch until January 1998 with The Cry of the Cat, FAO Schwarz has introduced a limited Goosebumps Series 2000 apparel line. With this new line, products have been reworked to directly target eight- to 12-year-old boys-the same demo it targeted in the past, but it is now skewing its licensed product slightly older. ‘We’re eliminating [product] that naturally caters to a younger demo,’ says Nancy Overfield-Delmar, retail consultant for Parachute Consumer Products. Except for some novelty items, the toy line has ended.
For the FAO Schwarz boutique, which is done up like a haunted house, interactivity is the buzzword. ‘There are touch points that cause voices to sound and lights to shine. . . . The whole shop will just reinforce the whole [idea] of interactivity,’ says Overfield-Delmar.
The Disney-MGM store opened before Halloween in October and, in true Disney tradition, is accompanied by a stage show called the Goosebumps HorrorLand Fright Show. The show leads customers through a house of mirrors and into a prop-filled retail space. According to Brian Lynch, brand manager of merchandise for Disney-MGM Studios, sales have exceeded expectations, even long after Halloween.
In addition to the in-store FAO Schwarz boutique, Parachute Consumer Products will test the full Goosebumps Series 2000 apparel line at 50 Mervyn’s stores this month. ‘We are working exclusively with [Mervyn's], as far as regular retail goes, for a period of time,’ says Overfield-Delmar. ‘Then we’ll be in a position to go broader, with greater awareness for the book series, in the spring.’