An earlier version incorrectly called the museum “small.” Readers described it otherwise. The post has been updated.
I own a coffee mug with a picture of a cleaver on it. Recognize it? I also own a shirt with the logo of Aviato. Know it? Oh, and I recently purchased an Orson Athletic Department hoodie. Know why?
I love TV, that’s why.
Yes, my fandom is debatably at an unhealthy level. So unhealthy that when I love a show I also love to buy something connected to it. Hence, the Cleaver mug, which was the fake mob/slasher movie that Christopher Moltisanti tried to produce in “The Sopranos.” Aviato is Erlich Bachman’s failed start-up in HBO’s “Silicon Valley.” And if you’re a fan of “The Middle” you’ll recognize the Orson shirt which is often worn by Mike Heck. Yeah, you may think I’m a little crazy. But apparently, I’m not alone. Fans of TV shows enjoy buying souvenirs from their favorite shows. The latest example? “Stranger Things 2″ on Netflix.
Fans of that show are like me — they clearly enjoy owning a little piece of it. A museum in Minnesota was smart enough to figure that out. And thanks to “Stranger Things 2,” the nonprofit organization so far has pocketed $400,000, according to this report in the Star-Tribune. How?
In the first episode, Dustin, one of the main characters, was wearing a purple hoodie displaying the Science Museum of Minnesota’s logo of a brontosaurus skeleton. The logo was used back in the ’80s (when the show is set), but people in 2017 wanted it. So they called and emailed the museum wanting to know where to send their money. Ka-ching. Museum management saw an opportunity and acted.
Within a few days the old hoodie was dusted off and put it back in stock (for only $36.95), along with crew necks ($29.95) and T-shirts ($19.95) sporting the same logo. People lined up at their store and went online. In fact, the response online was so huge that the museum’s website crashed. But once operational again, the museum peddled more than $80,000 of their products within the first 25 minutes. All in all, the museum rang up $400,000 of sales in its first day before selling out.
“The Science Museum is absolutely thrilled to be connected to the ‘Stranger Things’ phenomena here, the characters are interested in science,” a museum spokesman said told local TV station KARE11. “We’re getting the Science Museum of Minnesota on the map internationally, and we’re just excited to be part of this ride.”
The museum is replenishing its stock and promises that “everybody who wants one will be able to get one.”
A nonprofit museum acting entrepreneurial? I guess stranger things really can happen.