Tuesday, March 29, 2011

We Have a Winner...

Kurtis Taylor can officially say he's "Winning." And not in a messed-up Charlie Sheen sort of way.

Taylor is the winner of Genuine Ken, Mattel's online reality show. He's 25 years old and a former college football player.

According to the New York Times:
"Mattel is readying a modeling contract for Mr. Taylor. With $500 to buy gifts, he edged out his rivals when he won the romantic category by giving each judge a penny and donating the remaining money to the Make a Wish Foundation."

Read the full NYT article here. Eager to read more? Check out here and here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Heads Will Roll

While shopping at the Target, I came across the Swappin' Styles Barbie Fashionistas line. The dolls are available for purchase...and so are additional heads. Kids can pop off Barbies head and just swap on another one. 
Hey Kids, swap heads!!
When one head just isn't enough.
Helpful how-to guide for swapping heads.
This line probably is useful for kids who like to give Barbie haircuts...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Where to Sell?

From space concerns to difficulty brought about by the recession, many Barbie collectors still are looking to sell some of their dolls. I've received e-mails from multiple people (by the way, thanks for writing!) who want to find good homes for their dolls.

The key words: good homes. The dolls aren't like furniture you might sell on Craigslist; they are more like tiny plastic members of your family. It can be hard to part with them, especially after caring after them for years and years. You want to know they are going someplace where they will be just as loved and cared for.

So that begs the question, where do collectors go to sell their dolls--especially collectors who want the dolls to go into the hands of other collectors?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Barbie Packs Bags, Leaves Shanghai

Instead of the six-story flagship store that housed everything Barbie pink, including a spa, a cafe and multitudes of Barbie products, Barbie will occupy a bus in China. That's right, a bus. Now that Mattel has shuttered its Shanghai store, the company is taking Barbie on a tour of China in a pink bus.

I've written about the store and its faltering before.

There are different theories about the demise of Barbie's big pink store in Shanghai.

According to Forbes:
"Analysts have blamed various Barbie store problems including poor store location and overpricing, but mostly the finger-pointing has been about what it always is in global market-entry failures: the foreign firm flopped because it did not adequately meet the tastes of the local market."

The bottom line may have been that the Chinese market prefers Hello Kitty cuteness over Barbie's sex appeal.

Read more about the store closing and the bus tour here, here and here.

Friday, March 11, 2011

She Said Yes

The She Said Yes Barbie and Ken set is pretty cute, and who doesn't love that price point? $5?!? It's difficult to walk out of Starbucks with a drink that costs less than that.

I like the fresh take Mattel created on the original designs of both Barbie and Ken. We've seen Mattel update Barbie's striped swimsuit before, but I don't know that they make a lot of contemporary red-trunks-wearing Kens.

Even the packaging is super-cute. It has a pop art, Lichtenstein feel to it. And the dolls are arranged as if holding hands. All together now: Awwwwww. 

Also cute are the wee flip flops that come with each doll. This Barbie has flat feet to accommodate them.

I have to ask, though. What's with Ken's hair? Do the kids like "real" hair on Ken? It's always looked odd to me, maybe because all the Kens I played with as a kid had molded hair.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

One-of-a-Kind Princess

Here's a story to tug at the heart strings: Mattel recently created a one-of-a-kind doll for a young child battling cancer. The little girl has lost her hair because of the treatments, so the doll likewise has no hair. But it does have a princess dress and crown. The doll even is named after the little girl.

Read the full story here.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Barbie Art

I recently was in Miami escaping the Midwest cold and snow. (Seriously, why won't the snow stop? WHY?)

Walking around an outdoor antique market, I came upon some wonderful art featuring Barbie and Ken. Check it out here. Don't forget to flip through the different galleries, including Barbie and Ken, Ken and Friend, and Barbie and Friend.

My favorites are "Snack Time," "Late for Dinner Again" and "Girls Smoking at the Pool."

Which ones do you like?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Totally Hairtastic

As a kid, I only wanted to have birthday parties for the presents. No, seriously. I couldn't care less about hanging out with the other kids or hugging Billy Bob at Showbiz Pizza.

On a couple of occasions, I "got sick" after the cake and presents, thereby forcing my parents to send all the kids home, leaving me with the gifties. (Shhh, don't tell my parents about that.)

On one birthday, a girl in my class named Kim gave me Totally Hair Barbie. She debuted in 1992, so I must have been around 11 at the time.

According to Mattel, Totally Hair Baribe is the best-selling Barbie doll ever. She features hair from the top of her head to her toes. She also came with styling gel that one could use on her oversized bangs.

Other long-haired dolls since Totally Hair have tried and failed to gain the same popularity. What was the great appeal of this doll? Certainly, it was fun to play with all that hair. But was it more fun than the hair of other dolls? I'm not sure about that. And I never used the styling goop on her because it was sticky and kind of gross.

Mattel appears to be taking another stab at the appeal of extra-long hair with Barbie Hairtastic Printables. The doll comes with hair extensions that can be sent through an ink-jet printer to have different designs printed on to them. The hair can be clipped to kids' heads or Barbie's.

Read about it here and here.

This seems like a better technology fit for Barbie than Video Girl Barbie. Hairtastic is interactive without being creepy.