The Girl Scouts: they stand for wholesome, educational, and fun childhood activities. Right? Generally, yes, and even without coating every visible surface with pink sparkles. A new set of Barbie-themed activities and patch for the Daisy and Brownie levels (kindergarten through third grade) has horrified some critics, who think that the toy-maker’s influence is bad for girls’ self-image. [More]
Could construction be underway for a new Barbie dream house? Mattel certainly has the building Bloks on hand after announcing plans to takeover a Canadian toy maker. [More]
Just how big of a deal is the $19 billion WhatsApp is getting from Facebook in the acquisition announced yesterday? It’s a pretty freaking big deal — especially when you consider that there are a whole lot of major companies –including many that produce physical goods you can reach out and touch — that have been around longer than WhatsApp and are worth a lot less. [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]
Whether you want to hug him or not or buy him for any of the children in your life, Elmo has been the reigning king of holiday toys for nigh on 20 years. But what is it about the fuzzy red Sesame Street monster that keeps him so popular? And why does he like being tickled so much? [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]
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]
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]
Shopping for toys at Target, Anthony noticed an interesting change in a small, inexpensive doll that his daughter enjoys. The princesses have been affected by a toy shrink ray–the dolls are smaller, the mold used to make them is different, and they come with fewer accessories–for the same price, naturally. [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.
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.
Remember back when lead toys were all the rage? Oh, those dangerous days, when you couldn’t lick a Dora the Explorer doll without fear of memory loss! Well, Mattel and the Consumer Prouct Safety Commission (CPSC) have reached an agreement on how much Mattel should pay for importing toys that exceeded U.S. lead safety guidelines, and the amount is $2.3 million. Maybe now the CPSC can use some of that money to grease the DC wheels and get their new chair nominee confirmed.
Barbie may have to move out of the dream house or whatever — sales are down 9% and Mattel is hurting. [Bizjournals]
Jeff says his kid’s new toy, a working camera from Fisher-Price, tried to give his computer a virus when he plugged it in!