The days of grainy, hard to decipher photos that came with Mattel’s View-Master are apparently behind us. The company, along with Google, revealed an overhaul that transforms the classic kids’ toy into a virtual reality gadget. [More]
In the days leading up to a new year, most people take time out to reflect on the good and the bad of the previous 12 months. While there were some really great things – and not so great thing (Comcast/Time Warner Cable Merger, anyone?) that happened in 2014, there was also a seemingly endless supply of stories that left us wondering just who has control of companies’ social media platforms and why CEO’s just can’t keep their mouths shut. So without further adieu, here is Consumerist’s list of stories that make us go “What, The What?”
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.
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.
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]
I find life-size video screen ads with images of people really unnerving, and that was before I came to realize that they could be watching me back. Toy company Mattel, out to promote its board games before the holidays, created a cool event that brought random shoppers and an actor in a remote location together…to play board games.
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]
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]
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]
Because there’s nothing children love more than animated fat-shaming and liposuction, a supposedly youngster-friendly plastic surgery app has popped up in various forms (and has also been taken down) on both Google Play Store the and Apple App Store. [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]
Fisher-Price has issued a recall of about 800,000 of its Newborn Rock ‘N Play Sleepers due to an insidious problem that could be growing right under customer’s noses: mold. The company and the Consumer Product Safety Commission are warning consumers to stop using the sleepers if they spot mold on it, particularly in between the removable seat cushion and the hard plastic frame of the product. [More]