The end of the year is a time to reflect on the good times, bad times, and those that just made you scratch your head in disbelief. While there were plenty of really great – and not so great – things that happened in 2015, we’re here to remind you of some of the most baffling, embarrassing, and gaffe-worthy business and consumer stories that graced the pages of Consumerist in the last 12 months. [More]
Eavesdropping Barbie, Books About Famous Brands, Bratz Selfie Sticks Lead List Of Year’s Crassest Toys
Not all toys are equal; just ask those ungrateful children who will throw a tantrum on Christmas morning for getting a GoBot instead of a Transformer (wait — that was me). But some kid-targeted products cross the line from being blah to being truly terrifying. [More]
Bratz, a line of noseless fashion dolls whose owner has spent the last decade in litigation with Barbie-maker Mattel, have returned to store shelves. Is this a good thing? Maybe. The company is certainly making a big deal out of its relaunch, with ad campaigns, a “brand anthem,” and a big event in Times Square. [More]
Barbie has spent her entire life standing on her tiptoes and boy, she must be tired. Too long has she toiled for hours in dream mansions and in ice cream shoppes without the benefit of having her feet flat on the ground, encased comfortably in flat shoes. Her time has come: Mattel’s newest line of dolls have adjustable ankles, and a line of flat footwear to go with that new flexibility.
Another wave of controversy is washing over SeaWorld, as the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has handed the company’s San Diego park four citations for not making sure employees who work with killer whales are properly protected.
Since some imaginative cave child made the first doll out of a dead marmot, kids have been talking to their make-believe pals. And for more than a century, some of these dolls have been talking back. But the newest generation of Mattel Barbie dolls may take things to the next level by not only listening to what you have to say, but by sharing your conversations with complete strangers. [More]
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]