Description: The Animorphs book series, by K.A. Applegate, highlights the adventures of five teenagers who use their unique ability to transform into any animal they touch to help save the world from an an alien invasion. The first book in the series was published in June 1996. A new book title is released each month. The live-action television series produced by Scholastic Productions debuts in August `98 in prime time on Nickelodeon. The books and the TV show are targeted at boys and girls age nine to 13.
Licensor: Scholastic Entertainment
Hasbro Master toy
AME Boxer shorts
American Needle Inc. Baseball caps
Antioch Publishing Stationery
Berkshire Fashions, Inc. Hosiery, knit accessories
Giant Merchandising T-shirts
GT Interactive CD-ROMs, computer games
Hallmark Greeting cards, party goods
Holiday Fair Backpacks, book bags, wallets
Jay Franco & Sons, Inc. Beach towels
Milton-Bradley Board games
Plymouth, Inc. School supplies
Springs Industries, Inc. Bedding
SRM Electronic toys
Other licensees will be unveiled at Licensing 98 International.
Promotional Partners: Tricon, parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, in a multiyear deal. All three chains will develop special kids meal programming for Animorphs, including premium items, and supported by advertising and point-of-sale materials.
Media Support: Currently, Scholastic Entertainment is running ads in major trade publications to create a ‘buzz’ among the retail and business communities.
A major consumer print advertising campaign will be implemented with Tricon, timed for fall `98, when the promotion begins and the television series begins airing on Nickelodeon.
Retail: The retail campaign will begin a slow, but steady, trek in the fall of this year with T-shirts in bookstores carrying Animorphs books. By holiday `98, mid-tier department stores and toy and specialty shops will begin to stock an Animorph’s board game, as well as T-shirts and other licensed merchandise. In February 1999, Hasbro will unveil its line of toys, which, according to Deborah Forte, division head of Scholastic Entertainment and Scholastic Productions, will be ‘very innovative in terms of the morphing and sound.’ By spring, a full range of merchandise will be available in department stores, with further infiltration into toy and specialty stores. In fall 1999, a huge mass-market push will begin.
The Final Word: ‘We really produced Animorphs and wrote the show for older children, meaning kids age seven to 14, and we did so because we think they need programming that speaks directly to them,’ says Forte.
According to Peter Van Raalte, vice president of consumer products for Scholastic Entertainment, ‘Animorphs has all the elements of a successful licensing campaign. With compelling storylines, real kid heroes, a battle of good versus evil, alien enemies, spaceships and superpowers, Animorphs has what it takes to capture kids’ attention. Importantly too, we’ve assembled a very focused group of premier licensing partners who are committed to manufacturing innovative age-appropriate products.’
Leslye Shaefer, Scholastic Entertainment’s senior vice president of marketing and consumer products, adds, ‘With the live-action television series set to debut on Nickelodeon [during] prime time this fall, coupled with an aggressive integrated marketing strategy that includes a major fast-food consumer promotion, press, tune-in and on-line exposure, Animorphs is poised to be a powerful children’s entertainment brand.’
Additional reporting by Theresa Dillon