The horror genre is typically depicted as gory and gruesome, but to tease the 11th installment of “American Horror Story,” FX built a pop-up that toed the line between horror and art. The network’s AHS:NYC Shop served as a horror “boutique” designed to help the brand cut through the clutter during a time of year when consumers are inundated with horror content. For three (sold-out) weekends in October, FX lured fans to New York City’s West Village to get a taste of the forthcoming season and explore alluring “AHS” set pieces presented like works of art.
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When a pop-up experience requires attendees to be 18 or older, you know it’s got to be good. And given this season’s BDSM theme, it makes sense that FX put some restrictions in place for the activation. Various horror tropes, as well as leather wares and bondage accessories, were prevalent throughout the experience as attendees explored ominous rooms illuminated only by eerie red lighting where they discovered provoking displays of accessories, like spiked leather gloves and hoods.
“We wanted it to be something that plays into different spaces that ‘AHS’ has been known to play in,” says Kenya Hardaway, svp-integrated promotions, multi-platform marketing at FX Networks. “It’s not just purely a horror; it’s beautifully and visually arresting and character-driven and engaging. So we want to be able to create spaces where we’re able to depict all of those things.”
In addition to appreciating the set pieces and leveraging the backdrops for social content, AHS:NYC Shop visitors could interact with the creepy bondage-clad shop owners and staff (the CTA on social: “The owners are dying to meet you”). They could also stop by the “Safe Word Specialist” counter to create a custom safe-word-inspired t-shirt to take home.
For fans who didn’t score reservations for the experience, FX launched a microsite where they could learn about the shop and enter a sweepstakes to win a custom “AHS” prize. Meanwhile, FX’s social teams presented video walk-throughs of the AHS:NYC Shop so that the activation could be “appreciated by people far and wide,” Hardaway says.
“It was such a beautifully designed space, and the way we merchandised these accessories really turned them into art,” says Hardaway. “For me, it was a feast for the eyes and an amazing opportunity for people to experience horror in a way that isn’t often presented. So it was a fun way to drive some excitement around the new season and to engage the fans.” Agency: NVE Experience Agency.
Take a Tour of the AHS:NYC Shop:
Photo credit: Kadeeeem