Are pricing algorithms racist? That’s not really possible, and several big retailers are blaming “pricing errors” for discrepancies in the prices of Barbie dolls of different ethnicities. Shoppers interested in a doll in a figure-skating costume, for example, have to pay $1.99 extra at Walmart for a doll with darker skin and black hair. How does that happen? [More]
After ruling supreme as the most popular toy for girls during the holidays, Barbie is losing her crown for the first time ever to the plucky gang from the movie Frozen. You know, the one with that snowman and the hilarious reindeer? Also there’s an ice queen and a princess. [More]
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]
Yesterday we found out that Computer Engineer Barbie has no idea what computer engineering is, and can’t write code for a game she’s designing without men to do it for her, much less email or reboot her computer successfully. We reached out to Mattel’s media relations team to comment on the book all about Barbie’s brush with a computer virus and subsequent saving by her guy friends, but it would seem the PR team also has trouble using email. Better ask Steven and Brian for help. UPDATE: PR Barbie convinced the guys to boot up her computer, and responded to critics of this book. [More]
UPDATE: The real update is there has yet to be an update. We — and others — haven’t heard back from Mattel yet, despite increasing negative reviews of the book. SECOND UPDATE: Mattel has responded to the book’s critics. [More]
Like it or not, holiday shopping season is upon us. That means it’s time for sales, decorations, crowds, stress, and the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood’s annual list of the year’s worst toys. [More]
As one who has not played with Barbies in any serious kind of way for at least 20 years, I’m sure there are plenty of modern dolls doing all kinds of things I never dreamed of as a kid. And while yes, I would’ve liked a doll that trills out “what the f**k?!?” when my brothers would try to pull her head off, one mom of a young girl says she’s not too pleased that her daughter’s talking Barbie appears to have a potty mouth on her. [More]
Sports Illustrated will have a difficult time living down accusations that the models featured in its annual Swimsuit Issue are too plastic, after it was announced today that the magazine will include photos of an honest-to-goodness Barbie doll. [More]
Listen, you think just because your car is teeny tiny, pink and splashed with a famous name like “Barbie” makes you immune from police attention? Oh no, not even little girls are above the long arm of the law. Utah cops wanted to make sure Barbie and her cohorts didn’t get away with abandoning a vehicle in the street where it was blocking a driveway, and left a ticket on the wee set of wheels. [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]
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]
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]
Playing “Madoff investors” just got a little easier thanks to Mattel’s “Palm Beach Sugar Daddy” Ken doll, which will be released in April of 2010.
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.