It’s beginning to look a lot like Grinch-mas at Random House Children’s Books, which kicks off its Grow Your Heart 3 Sizes promotional campaign on December 1, the newly minted National Grinch Day. Inspired by Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, the campaign promotes family reading and community spirit. During the “25 Days of Grinch-mas,” bookstores across the country will host Grinch-mas–themed events encouraging kids to give back to their communities by doing good deeds. In turn, the publisher will donate one new book, through First Book, to a child’s community when he or she returns the mail-back postcard, included in the retailer event kit, listing three good deeds done.
“Amidst all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, we wanted to reinforce the message that Christmas is not all about giving gifts, but about doing things from the heart, and creating a sense of family and community, which sometimes gets lost,” said Kerri Benvenuto, RHCB’s executive director of marketing. “We thought this holiday season was the perfect time to launch this campaign, given all the community efforts we saw in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, when people really came together.”
A highlight of the campaign is the Grinch Community Cares Project event kit, which is targeted to independent booksellers. Components of the kit include a counter easel calendar with a suggested good deed for every day in December (among the prompts: “Help make dinner,” “Read to someone,” and “Say something nice to someone”), 25 Days of Grinch-mas Bingo cards to inspire kids’ good deed-doing, “I Grew My Heart 3 Sizes” buttons, and reproducible coloring and activity pages. The kit also contains “Grow Your Heart 3 Sizes and Shop Local” window clings for booksellers to distribute to other local independent retailers interested in supporting the initiative to “turn your community into Who-ville this holiday season!” A smaller-scale Grow Your Heart 3 Sizes retailer and librarian event kit is also available.
In addition, RHCB’s annual Indie Holiday Survival Kit, offering resources and tips for booksellers during the holiday rush, this year has a Grinch theme. This kit also includes information about getting involved with the Grinch Community Cares Project.
From now through January 16, booksellers can enter Random House’s contest for the best Grinch-themed window or merchandising displays, for which the grand prize is a trip to Winter Institute 2015. The Grinch-mas Grow Your Heart 3 Sizes campaign also includes a 30-city Grinch costume tour whose itinerary appears on the campaign Web site. The site also includes a countdown clock to National Grinch Day and Grinch-mas crafts, activities, and games.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! has sold more than 6.6 million copies since its 1957 publication and as of October 22 is also available as an e-book. New print runs of the hardcover edition have the campaign logo printed on the back cover, and RHCB is distributing more than 450 Grinch Community Cares Project event kits, 8,000 retail and library event kits, 500 Grinch Indie Holiday Survival Kits, 325,000 buttons, and 1,000 Grinch standee floor displays. The company is supporting the initiative with print and online advertising, and Facebook and Twitter promotion.
Benvenuto noted that her team “is thrilled with the tremendous response to the campaign and the participation across all distribution channels. We are hoping to receive feedback on the campaign via social media, so we can find ways to grow it. We’d like to build this each year, to create a holiday tradition.”
One retailer who is already in the Grinch-mas spirit is Shelley Hobson, owner of Wilmington, N.C.’s Learning Express, a specialty toy store with a large book department. Hobson hosted a costumed Grinch at three events on November 15 and 16, one held at each of the store’s two locations and one at The Children’s Museum of Wilmington.
“We had big crowds at each [store] event, and as many as several hundred at the museum,” she said. “The staff all wore ‘I Grew My Heart 3 Sizes’ buttons, we read How the Grinch Stole Christmas! twice, families had their pictures taken with the Grinch, and we had a young actress dressed up as Cindy-Lou Who, who did a great job warming the kids up. The cool thing is that the Grinch is multigenerational now, and we had lots of parents and grandparents who are fans. It was a great way to kickoff the holidays.”