Upon hearing the news this morning that American Apparel CEO Paula Schneider was resigning from her post, we couldn’t help but feel a twinge of deja vu. After all, she’s far from the first top executive to cause a stir with a sudden departure. [More]
When your child uses a kid-targeted website for Barbie, Dora the Explorer, Neopets, Nerf, or Nickelodeon, federal law limits what information can be collected. But an investigation by the New York state attorney general found that some of the biggest names in toys and kids’ entertainment were violating that law by collecting information from their young users without authorization, and by allowing third parties to track users’ behavior across the internet. [More]
When I was but a young Consumerist, the only way to get your hands on an American Girl doll — once parents had been successfully harangued into purchasing the pricey toy — was by mail order. Since then, Pleasant Company, now a subsidiary of Mattel, has 20 stores around the country dedicated to selling the dolls as well as a website. Times are changing yet again: starting next month, the dolls will also be available at Toys ‘R’ Us stores. [More]
Ever since April 1, 1922 when our print forerunner, The Consumerist Bugle-Gazette, ran an April Fools’ Day cover story that unwittingly — but accurately — announced the death of exiled Austrian Emperor Charles I, we’ve not tempted fate and avoided such tomfoolery. But others aren’t burdened by these ghosts of Aprils gone awry. [More]
Imagine a world where G.I. Joe marries Barbie (or Ken) and then they both drive off in their Hot Wheels car to their My Little Pony ranch — and all these products come from the same company. It’s a possibility, with Mattel and Hasbro reportedly chatting about merging the contents of their respective toy chests.
For decades, Mattel’s famous line of Barbie dolls has been heavily criticized for perpetuating an unrealistic and unobtainable image of the female figure. And for some reason, the dolls’ feet were perma-slanted so that Barbie had to wear heels all the time. But today Mattel has announced that Barbie will come in a variety of sizes and skin tones. [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.
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]
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.
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]
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]