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Posts Tagged ‘Barbie’

The Barbie/Girl Scouts Partnership Is Not Going Over Well

girl scout barbieA Girl Scouts-themed Barbie doll is coming to stores this week. And, as one would expect, it is not going over well with parents who think that Barbie is not the best role model for little girls.

The relationship between Mattel and the Girl Scouts was actually forged last year, when the Girl Scouts began to offer a “Be anything. Do everything” patch, the first time the group signed on for a corporate partnership.

“Barbie is basically a terrible role model for girls, and she’s not about what the Girl Scouts’ principles are, which have to do with leadership and courage,” Susan Linn,  director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood tells the Today show.

However, the Girl Scouts have defended the partnership.

“Girls and moms alike associate this doll with the outdoors, camping, giving back in your community, and we think that those are really positive messages to all of our girls,” Kelly Parisi, spokeswoman for Girl Scouts of the USA told the morning show.

The partnership appears to be a mutually beneficial one. But some women can’t get over the fact that a good chunk of Barbie’s appeal is superficial.

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Mattel Shouldn’t Let The Opportunities From Entrepreneur Barbie Slip Away

business barbieBarbie has had many jobs (150, according to CNN), outfits, homes and houses. She’s lately added a business suit and tech gadgets to her wardrobe with Entrepreneur Barbie, a doll that comes with a smartphone and tablet.

She’s still the same blond bombshell. Still chic in pink. But this time around, she comes with a social network that includes 10 (human) entrepreneurs, who are the doll’s “Chief Inspirational Officers.” Founders from Rent the Runway, One Kings Lane, and Girls Who Code are part of the network and they conducted a Twitter chat last week to launch the doll.

The Atlantic finds it strange that the brand is using the #Unapologetic hashtag for this doll seeing as how it was used for the previous one, a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue collaboration. We’ll second that, but there’s actually a little more at stake here than just a wrongheaded hashtag.

This partnership is a real opportunity to jettison Barbie into 2014, with a lesson for young girls that is modern and tied very much to reality. Barbie has the chance to be something more relevant and significant than she has been in the past.

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Finally! A Barbie-Like Doll With Realistic Proportions (But She Could Use a Better Catchphrase)

1When we first read that artist Nickolay Lamm was raising $95,000 on CrowdtiltOpen to create a Barbie-like doll with the proportions of an average, living, breathing young woman (with no need to carry her vital organs in a handbag), we very literally cheered.

Let Barbie have her gargantuan breasts, spiky stilettos and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue spread — this new doll can still wear pretty clothes and chase exciting careers, but she can also keep all her vital organs where they belong. Finally, a doll a mother can give her little girl without the twinge of I-might-be-fostering-low-self-esteem-and-unrealistic-ideals guilt.

We read excitedly, thinking: “What’s her name?” “How are they promoting her?” “Tell us everything!”

Her name is Lammily, and her catchphrase is “Average is Beautiful.”

Wait, what?

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Real-Life Barbie Doll Wants to Become Living Blonde Stereotype

blondie-bennett-human-barbie

Please send your hate mail to this bimbo … if she can read it.

Meet Blondie Bennett.

Certainly, that’s her legal name, or at least one that she can spell without phoning a friend. This 38-year-old nimrod has one idol that challenges her to reach for goals, climb to new heights, and become a better person. That idol is Barbie.

Yes, as in the plastic doll that recently posed on the cover of Sports Illustrated and known for having an unrealistic body. So, other than the alterations that you can see has already taken place, she plans on doing this — Blondie Bennett wants to become “totally brainless through the practice of hypnotherapy.”

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‘Unapologetic’ Barbie to Appear in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

Embargoed_Barbie_2014_Actual_SI_Spread_Image_2.11.14In a world in which ad campaigns are making headlines for saying “no” to Photoshop and some brands are committing to embracing broader, more realistic standards of beauty, others make no apologies in the face of many years of criticism for promoting unattainable, unrealistic ideals. So, we guess it’s about time two of those brands team up and defiantly, proudly, (bravely!) refuse to change. Or apologize. Together.

Aw, solidarity. How sweet.

A new campaign for Barbie will find the doll posing for her very own spread in the upcoming 50th installment of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, along with the tagline “Unapologetic.” The magazine will also be bringing back other Swimsuit “legends” to celebrate its 50th issue.

Now check out what a Mattel spokeswoman said about the campaign:

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Mattell’s Top Designer Defends Barbie’s ‘Unrealistic’ Body

Here’s one we found fascinating: Mattell has obviously gotten a lot of criticism in recent years for presenting young girls with an unattainable standard via Barbie, “the most popular fashion doll ever produced.”

We were particularly taken with the “this is what Barbie would look like with the average 19-year-old girl’s body” project by artist Nickolay Lamm.

Now, despite the enthusiasm of the press release above, Mattell’s sales have declined.

In a Fast.CoDesign piece published this week, Barbie’s lead designer finally addresses critics.

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Barbie Puts Her Malibu Dreamhouse on the Market

Barbie Mattel movingDid you know that Barbie split up with longtime beau Ken in 2004–or that her latest job descriptions include “computer engineer” and “architect“? (Paging Art Vandelay…)

Neither did we! Apparently the best-known property of the world’s biggest toy brand, Mattel, has been very active on social media while charting her steady climb up the career ladder. Girl power!

The company’s latest attempt to rekindle interest and pump up the sales numbers for everyone’s favorite “natural” blonde may also be its most elaborate. The centerpiece of this rebranding exercise–which will be managed by HL Group on the PR end–is Barbie’s decision to put her famous Malibu Dreamhouse up for sale (and no, we don’t mean the crazy life-size replica). It seems that Ken’s lady is looking to make a big move–but where will she go? Manhattan? Las Vegas? San Francisco? SALT LAKE CITY?!?!

It’s up in the air! And the campaign will include pretty much every element of the new interactive marketing/PR equation.

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Barbie Caters to Dads This Christmas

Barbie Mega BloksThere is nothing a public relations professional loves more than the death of a stereotype—especially one as big as Barbie.

For generations, whenever it came time to buy a present for a young son or niece, most shoppers would march into a toy store and automatically head for either a boys’ section stocked with faux tools and race cars or a girls’ section always aglow with pink Barbies and plastic kitchenettes. That’s just the way society worked–there were toys for boys and there were toys for girls.

This paradigm, however, is evolving. Mattel, for instance, just debuted a Barbie construction set, marking a major shift in perspective in the brand’s storied 50-year history. That’s right–the invisible cultural impasse that separates toys according to gender is eroding.

Like most successful companies, Mattel is simply reacting to the marketplace in order to maximize its profits. That’s just good business. Chances are this trend will reverberate throughout various segments of our culture and business landscape–and PR experts should take notice. So what, exactly, is going on?

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PRWeek Award Winners Announced

PRWeek held its annual awards gala in New York last night. Among the winners: Ketchum West and Mattel/Barbie for Campaign of the Year; Zeno Group for Agency of the Year; and Euro RSCG Worldwide PR‘s Marian Salzman for PR Professional of the Year.

In its Agency of the Year write-up, PRWeek says Zeno Group had 16 percent revenue growth for the year ending September 30, 2010, clients including Tropicana and Sears, programs to show appreciation for its staff, and a dozen new hires, including CEO Barby Siegel from Edelman.

There were 80 judges for this year’s awards. Cargill corporate VP of corporate affairs Mike Fernandez served as the chair. Congrats to all the winners! Complete list here.

Digital Influencers Rule at Advertising Week Panel

Left to right: Joe Penna, "MysteryGuitarMan" on YouTube; iJustine, Web celeb; Jason Harris, Mekanism ; Ivy Ross, GAP; Jill Fletcher, Virgin America

Companies’ use of digital influencers to generate buzz has become increasingly popular and has created more media options. On day four of Advertising Week, Jason Harris, president of Mekanism production studio, moderated a panel that included video celebrities Joe Penna, known as MysteryGuitarMan on YouTube, iJustine and corporate panelists Ivy Ross, CMO at clothing retailer  GAP and Jill Fletcher, social media manager at Virgin America.

The corporate panelists agreed on the importance of selecting Web influencers who are culturally relevant to the brand or category and have a large fan base. Both iJustine and Joe Penna have one million followers or more. They take their fan base quite seriously, and are careful to ensure that their corporate involvement does not compromise their status among their audience.

iJustine, who does an average of one branded video per month, said her filter for a project is, “Would I use the product and recommend it to my followers?” In working with her clients, such as Mattel’s video Barbie doll, she finds out first if their objectives are to increase awareness or sell products, and she is cautious not to oversell. Read more