Earlier today, we wondered why the communications people over at Mattel hadn’t answered any questions about a book starring Barbie as a computer engineer. Barbie’s “engineering” job consisted of designing puppies while having male colleagues code the game and reboot her computer. This isn’t just sexist, but an inaccurate representation of what computer engineers do. Good news: Steven and Brian managed to get the virus off PR Barbie’s computer, and the book’s author has spoken up as well. UPDATE: Amazon also appears to have pulled the e-book version of this title. [More]
When families go on vacation, parents get to drive around a shiny and different vehicle, but what do kids get to drive? Nothing! It happened that toy-maker Mattel and car-renter Europcar are clients of the same ad agency, and they formed an interesting idea: what if there were a counter where children could rent cars, too? Pocket-sized cars, that is. Hot Wheels. [More]
Sure, Salem had a happy childhood in Dubai. But it lacked one crucial thing: a toy Voltron. He eventually moved to the United States for a decade, enjoying all that New York City has to offer: career opportunities, a variety of cultural experiences, and the ability to order special-edition Voltron subscriptions from Mattel that aren’t sold overseas. You know, important things. He subscribed to a five-toy collector’s series comprised of five lions that join to form a Voltron. He moved, and the blue lion (Voltron’s right leg) shipped to his old address in error. Mattel is happy to refund his money, but won’t send a replacement blue lion. It’s not about the money. The blue lion is sold out. [More]
Rick’s daughter had a question about her toys. She wanted to know why some Hot Wheels cars have drivers, and why some don’t. Instead of just making up an answer or saying that he didn’t know, he sent a quick e-mail to Hot Wheels maker Mattel. They sent her back what was probably a form e-mail, but still surprised and delighted Rick. There was another surprise, too. [More]
Mattel and MGA Entertainment have long been locked up in a bitter court battle over the Bratz line of urban-themed dolls. In the latest swing of the pendulum, a federal judge ordered Mattel to pay $310 million in damages and various fees. [More]
Last week, Ken broke up with Barbie after finding out some of the paper in her packaging comes from a Singapore company, Asian Pulp & Paper (APP), they accuse of clearcutting rain forests and destroying endangered tiger habitats. In the animated video put out by Greenpeace, he shrieks after seeing video of Barbie chainsawing the forest and laughing like a mad woman, and shouts, “It’s over!” before punching the camera. Later, activists rappelled down the side of Mattel’s headquarters to unfurl a banner announcing the breakup, and Barbie herself showed up in her bright pink “Dream Dozer” before the cops arrested her. Now in response to the campaign, Mattel announced they’re cutting APP out of their supply chain. [More]
The FBI is downplaying a leaked internal memo that reminded field agents that “Barbie Video Girl”, which has a video camera embedded in her necklace, could be used by pervs to produce child pornography. [More]
A Barbie doll dressed in a black cocktail dress, pink heels, and a sparkly pink necklace sold at auction at Christie’s yesterday for $302,500. Well, perhaps it’s not a Barbie doll so much as some plastic and fabric that happens to be attached to a custom-designed Cubist pink and white diamond necklace made by Australian jewelry designer Stefano Canturi. [More]
Yesterday we talked about Bratz, so it’s only fair that we give Barbie some space today. Especially this Barbie, the Video Girl Doll. While this piece of plastic looks like any other Barbie doll, it harbors a secret: a hidden camera in a pendant around her neck, which can record up to 30 minutes of video.
Mattel gushes over the spy-doll:
Budding filmmakers, take note: BarbieÂ® doll now doubles as a video camera! Girls can record and play back clips with this multi-tasking doll, which has a video camera built right in. Capture everything from a doll’s-eye-view, then watch it instantly or upload to your computer. There’s an LCD screen on BarbieÂ® doll’s back, and a camera lens hidden discreetly in her necklace. Talk about making movies in style!
The cast of Mad Men just got Barbie Dollized. For only $74.95 a pop, you can have just as much fun toying with Don, Betty, Roger and Joan as they have toying with each other. Sorry, only G-rated accessories; they will not come with any cigarettes or martini glasses. However, fans will be glad to know that just like in the show, the characters will be trapped inside plastic coffins and their movements determined by powerful external forces. [More]
Does the new computer savvy Barbie have tinier tatas than her predecessors? Reader jgodsey says she noticed a discrepancy in this side-by-side profile on TV. Or is it just the angle and the bodice? Here’s Geek Barbie from another angle along with another Barbie friend so we can settle this argument. [More]
Have you always wanted to use an Internet-enabled collar and a Twitter feed to keep up with what your dog is up to when you’re out of view? Me either, but Mattel thinks that there might be a market for this sort of thing, and will bring Puppy Tweets to market this summer. [More]
Over the last five decades, the vaguely human-shaped fashion doll Barbie has had a lot of careers. Barbie’s jobs have changed over time along with perceptions of what the little girls who played with her could grow up to become. She was a nurse in 1961, then a surgeon in 1973. She was a student teacher in 1965, and President of the United States and a Starfleet officer in 2000. Now, Mattel is hopping on the geek chick bandwagon with Computer Engineer Barbie. [More]
Mattel’s new “beautronics” device aimed at tween girls, the Barbie Nail Printer, is a glorified inkjet printer that customizes and prints designs on your fingernails. Neat idea in theory, though a bit pricey at $180. However, Mattel has apparently overlooked an essential part of the inkjet printer business model: selling new and overpriced cartridges. The problem, reader Richard writes, is that the company refuses to take orders for new cartridges, saying that they won’t be available until next year. But I want pink leopard print fingernails now! [More]
When the CPSIA—the toy safety law that requires independent lab tests on toys—was passed, a lot of smaller toy manufacturers complained that it was really a dirty trick by the big toy companies to increase overhead for the small ones. Now comes word that the government has secretly exempted Mattel from the law’s testing requirements—even though Mattel was responsible for 6 lead-tainted toy recalls in 2007.
Mattel’s revenues are down by 19%. Toy sales from summer movies and flagship product Barbie and Hot Wheels are down. However, the company reported today that profits are way up. So what explains the profits? Blame a visit from Price Hike Barbie.