I actually don't have a problem with the dolls in this collection themselves. They are lovely, have great costumes and (as far as I know) aren't actually based on people from the television program. It's more the product tie-in with Dancing with the Stars.
It strikes me as a pure profit grab to tie Barbie with such a popular program. Why did these dolls have to be branded "Dancing with the Stars"? These dolls easily could have been Waltz Barbie, Paso Doble Barbie and Samba Barbie -- without any mention of that show.
Then I wouldn't be complaining about them at all. No, really.
Seriously, though. Dancing with the Stars is among the top-five television shows this season to-date in terms of viewers. Viewers totaled 18,153,000 as of the data through Nov. 13.
Mattel is branching out, adding a new line of dolls: Stardoll by Barbie. Apparently, Stardoll has been a popular online fashion and gaming community for teen and tween girls. Being neither a teen or tween, I had not heard of them prior to Mattel's announcement.
The company is bringing the "virtual world to the 'real' world" and offering Stardolls at $20.99 each. They are inspired by the online world and include four of the most-popular virtual Stardoll stores (whatever that means). Mattel is introducing two dolls per "store."
There's Fallen Angel, Bonjour Bizou, Doll Space and Pretty n' Love. So...interesting names. Each doll has rooted eyelashes and a unique face and body sculpt. Each doll includes a gift card for complimentary Superstar membership on Stardoll.com, Stardollars to spend on all Superstar items on Stardoll and free exclusive virtual gifts (whatever all that means).
For those who are really curious, you can browse the Stardoll site.
Or you can read about Barbie and Stardoll here and here.
I'm strictly a Barbie gal, so I won't be plunging into the Stardoll world. But what do you think, fellow Barbie collectors? Will you be buying Stardolls as well?
Are kids without imagination today? Have techno-gadget toys, television and staring too long at the sun and other shiny objects finally stripped them of their ability to develop stories and actually play?
I ask because Mattel again has released a line of dolls tied to a DVD. I imagine the company's hope is kids will love the DVD and the merchandising tie in already will be waiting on the shelves for them.
But I think it's sad.
I watched a lot of Inspector Gadget as a kid, but I never wanted to have Penny and Brain dolls. I was happy developing my own stories with my Barbies.
In Princess Charm School, Barbie stars as Blair Willows, who is chosen to attend the prestigious Princess Charm School. There's all sorts of dancing, etiquette and poise classes and a battle-royal with the possibly scheming Dame Devin to win the crown. Is Barbie the rightful heir of Gardania?
I'm on the edge of my seat.
To accompany the DVD, Mattel has created not only a Princess Charm School Blair doll but also a Nicholas (the charming prince), Delancy and Hadley (Blair's bestest buds), and Princess Assistants (semi-terrifying magical springs with glitter dragons). Don't forget the iPhone/iPad/iPod tough app, too!
Perhaps the worst offense in all this is that the doll isn't all that great or inventive or even attractive. If you're going to launch a merchandised DVD-related blitz, Mattel, at least make it pretty.
I collect Barbie dolls. It's a hobby most of my friends find perplexing. I haven't yet found anyone in my social circle who shares my love of the 11.5-inch plastic fashion queen — so I decided to branch out.
In blogging about Barbie, I hope to find and communicate with other collectors like me.