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GOOSEBUMPS GOES TO EXTREME;POPULAR KID BOOK SERIES EVOLVES WITH SPORTS BRAND

By Published on .

R.L. Stine's Goosebumps is getting a sporty new look as Scholastic Productions and Parachute Press begin licensing lifestyle products based on the franchise.

Scholastic has inked licensees Great Scott, Seneca Sports and Toy Biz to create the first products under its new Goosebumps Sports sub-brand. A full line of "extreme sports" products will hit this spring; a limited quantity will arrive at Christmas.

SPRINGTIME PROMOS

The spring '97 rollout will be supported with co-op advertising, tie-in partners and retail promotions, similar to the Halloween-theme Goosebumps promos that Pepsi-Cola Co. and Target Stores are currently running.

Great Scott will market bike accessories, and outdoor sports and winter sports equipment. Seneca Sports will market in-line skating gear. Toy Biz will sell products such as kites and flying discs.

"We wanted to focus first on sports that were edgy and contemporary and speak to the interests of our target audience" of grade-schoolers and young teens, said Leslye Schaefer, Scholastic senior VP-marketing and consumer products.

She said the line will expand to other sports, like basketball, baseball, football and hockey. Scholastic has considered co-branding with pro sports leagues but is shying away because of concerns over diluting the Goosebumps brand.

The extension into sports and the positioning of Goosebumps as a lifestyle brand aren't a stretch, she said, because kids view it as an entertainment property.

GOOSEBUMPS PHENOMENON

Goosebumps is a phenomenon: The spine-tingling series of books, created by author Mr. Stine and Parachute Press and published by Scholastic, has sold 140 million copies since 1992. Goosebumps home videos and a Fox TV series are top performers and the first licensed products including toys from Hasbro, footwear and lunch kits, launched last year, have proven successful.

A CD-ROM from DreamWorks SKG and additional games from Milton Bradley are arriving in time for this holiday season. Both are planning ad efforts.

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