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Posts Tagged ‘Mattel’

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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‘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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Mattel Urges Customers: Save the Chocolate Bunnies (and the Children)!

While some may relish in ravenously dismembering chocolate bunnies every Easter, there are those of us who feel guilty biting off their sweet little ears. Now, toymaker Mattel has decided to cash in on that too-cute-to-eat-guilt by encouraging shoppers to help stop the senseless annihilation of countless chocolate bunnies. How? By filling kids’ baskets with Mattel brand toys instead of candy, of course! While it may seem like a lighthearted, fluffy (no pun intended) campaign, Save the Bunny is actually as multifaceted as it is adorable.

The official Save the Bunny website urges visitors to “Help us take a bite out of chocolate bunny extinction. Give toys for Easter. Fill your child’s basket with surprises that inspire hours of creative, sugar-free play.” See what they did there? By buying toys, you can not only alleviate the guilt of encouraging your kids to murder defenseless chocolate bunnies, but also the guilt of encouraging them to stuff their little faces with unhealthy, super-sweet treats–all while inspiring creativity and active play. In a world of video games and unhealthy foods, these are siren songs to parents.

And if that weren’t enough, there’s also a sweepstakes–and a charity.

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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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Women at NBCU Tallies the Top in Brand Buzz

Women at NBCU, NBCUniversal’s initiative for marketers looking to reach the ladies, has taken a look back at the past year in its Brand Power Index (BPI) and tallied up the top brands and campaigns.

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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.

‘CR Magazine’ Names Best Corporate Citizens

A Johnson Controls engineer examining a battery that will power a hybrid electric vehicle. Photo: Dan Irving, Johnson Controls

Topping Corporate Responsibility Magazine‘s 12th annual “100 Best Corporate Citizens List” (released today) is Johnson Controls, the industry and technology company based in Wisconsin. The company went from number 22 in 2009 to the top of the list for 2010.

CR determines its best corporate citizens based on their activity in seven areas: the environment, climate change, employee relations, human rights, finance, philanthropy, and government. Overall, companies scored better this year over last.

Rounding out the top five are Campbell Soup, International Business Machines (IBM), Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Mattel. CR also notes those who are under investigation or have a judgment against them from a legal or regulatory body, which excludes that company from the list for the following three years.

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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