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!
Just how much lead was in that toy blood pressure cuff Mattel were so reluctant to recall back in February? The one they said “me federal regulations and international consumer product safety standards?” Well, a reader’s scientist friend working in lab tested it on the equipment there. According to his results, the amount of lead in the paint was 4-5% lead by weight. “For reference,” he writes, “U.S. EPA HUD guidelines set the action limit for paint at 0.5% lead by weight. Any level over 0.5% is considered to be contaminated…Lead paint used on houses 50 years ago had lead content of 2-15%.”
Sales of Barbie fell 12 percent in the U.S. as the 49-year- old doll faced competition from Hannah Montana and Ganz’s Webkinz. Mattel, which recalled more than 21 million Chinese-made products in 2007, expects Chinese manufacturing costs to rise further. The yuan has climbed 10 percent against the dollar over the past 12 months, and inflation in China is near an 11-year high.
This is Round 16 in our Worst Company in America contest, Mattel vs AT&T.
Mattel profited off of selling millions of toys covered in lead paint, as well a toy with detachable, swallowable, magnet balls.
Members Of Congress Implore Mattel To "Do The Right Thing," Recall Lead-Tainted Toy Blood-Pressure Cuff
56 Members of Congress want to know why Mattel CEO Robert Eckert refuses to issue a nationwide recall for a toy blood-pressure cuff that is contaminated with lead. The affected blood-pressure cuff, sold as part of the Fisher-Price Medical Kit, was recalled exclusively in Illinois after Mattel received a complaint from State Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Legislators want Eckert to stand by a pledge made to reassure a jittery public before the holiday buying season that Mattel would ‘earn back our trust with deeds, not just with words.’
Here’s a story that makes you wonder what sort of tools the workers at Mattel’s factories use. A “shank” (a blade wrapped in electrical tape, to be exact) was found inside a sealed Polly Pocket toy purchased at Walmart.
Cadmium batteries are cheap and safe to use, but hazardous to manufacture. They’ll save you money—about $1.50 for the average cadmium-powered toy, says the Wall Street Journal.
Consumer Reports says that Fisher-Price has finished testing another toy blood pressure cuff and have found that it exceeds the Illinois lead limit for toys.