gershon hepner

(5 3 38 / leipzig)

barbie


Mattel is making hair-brushed Barbies
unlike the previous airbrushed harpies,
because the doll’s begun to show
her age, and lost the primal glow
that ever dolly’s forced to loose
when aging. Many girls now choose
the Moxie Girls from MGA,
or Bratz from Spin Master and play
with dolls with pouty lips, and at-
titude of brazen brat,
revealing with their clothes the sort
of body parts a nice girl ought
not ever show, to cast a spell
that Barbie couldn’t, till Mattel
woke up, rejuvenating sales
with fashionistsa dolls that males
like Barbie’s Kennie must adore,
while dancing in the dolly store,
singing to her, with the mike on,
“You’re my fashionista icon! ”
Barbie’s line is: “Life’s fantastic,
especially when it is plastic! ”
with chorus that goes, “Brush my hair,
and undress me anywhere! ”

Not all people love the change.
I do, but am I really strange
to love her when she’s just as naughty
as most girls aren’t till they are forty?
I hope Mattel succeeds, and that
a Barbie look-alike is at
my door when I go home tonight,
inviting me to hug her tight,
looking like a supermodel,
designer girl whom I can coddle
to my heart’s content, a folly
this fun and fashionista dolly
induces in me all occasions
that I see her. No evasions
from her as from her competition
that’s flesh and blood, plus inhibition.
Though I’m not yet prepared to pay
for dolls, for such a one I may.

Inspired by an article by Ann Zimmerman in the WSJ, October 21 (“Mattel Hope Barbie Facelift Will Show Up Rivals”) :
This was supposed to be the year that Barbie finally regained her tiara as the queen of the toy aisles. After many false starts, Mattel Inc. thought it had found a way to make the iconic fashion doll once more a must-have for girls of all ages - and to boost the company's flagging revenues as well. It is spending millions of dollars to promote its new 'Fashionista' Barbies, even hiring a choreographer-to-the-stars to create a dance called 'The Barbie' for a video that had its premiere on the 'Today Show' and was posted on YouTube….
In 2001, Mattel met its match in MGA's Bratz, dolls with a spoiled attitude, pouty lips and revealing clothes. Though many parents found the dolls too sexually suggestive, girls loved their oversize features and naughty vibe. As Bratz sales took off, Mattel attempted to launch its own hip line called Flavas - with disastrous results. The dolls stayed on the market for less than a year. 'It was as if the Beach Boys tried to do hip-hop, ' said Sean McGowan, a toy analyst at the New York financial firm Needham & Co. Bratz's share of the fashion-doll market that Barbie long dominated grew to about 50% by 2005. Mattel turned its attention to a new fantasy line of Barbies dressed as characters such as Clara from 'The Nutcracker' and Thumbelina. The line generated healthy sales, but pigeonholed Barbie as a doll that appealed mainly to very young girls, according to several analysts…..
But Mattel has a lot of marketing muscle, which it is using to try to attract older girls, ages 6 to 10. Two weeks before school started, Mattel sent house-party kits to 1,000 girls with copies of the 'Do the Barbie' video, sunglasses and pink popcorn. It urged the girls to invite 15 friends to learn the dance, which was choreographed by JaQuel Knight, who has worked with Beyoncé and Britney Spears. The video incorporates the hit song 'Barbie Girl, ' written a decade ago by the Danish pop group Aqua, with the refrain, 'Life in plastic, it's fantastic! ' Back then, Mattel sued the band and the song's producers for trademark infringement. The toy maker claimed the song mocked Barbie as a sex object with lyrics such as: 'You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere.' A federal-court judge dismissed the suit, and Mattel's appeal was unsuccessful. Mattel changed some of the words for the video, but says using the song now is an indication of how the company and its star doll have loosened up. 'When you're a fashion icon, you get to kiss and make up with your enemies, ' says Ms. Cota, Barbie's marketing chief. 'You realize not everyone is going to love you.'



10/21/09

Submitted: Wednesday, October 21, 2009

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