Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Innovation or Fashion Fad?

This blog is a spin off of Brittany's earlier blog about dolls and our discussion during the last class about marketing. The two unique dolls I've heard of recently include Plain Pamela and Palm Beach Sugar Daddy Ken. These dolls really make me question whether they are examples of innovation or marketing fads.

Plain Pamela is a homely doll that was designed to boost the confidence of young girls. This doll has psoriasis, ugly clothes, unattractive figure, and is programmed to say things like, "I wish I was as pretty as you". The argument is that Mattel believes there is an existing need to combat the female self-image issues that Barbie's unrealistic attributes have caused in the past. But is this product really being innovative in addressing the need? I argue that while it is a different and considerably creative concept, it is not being innovative in cultivating positive image in young girls. What would need to be changed about the doll in order to address the need more effectively? To truly be considered an innovative product, I would suggest the delivery of positive messages along with dolls that could be considered more culturally diverse, as Brittany discussed previously.

I'll leave your thoughts on Palm Beach Sugar Daddy Ken. I would argue that the Ken doll was yet another one of Barbie's accessories but this doll is different and described as the ultimate metrosexual or gay male socialite. Is this innovative? Does it really fill a need?


  1. The name of the Ken doll sounded so odd that I just had to find out more. The doll, which comes out in April 2010, will retail $for 81.99 and is supposed to be reflective of the Palm Beach crowd. Although, some think that Mattel may have missed the bill, given that many "Palm Beachers" are retirement age with . Although, what surpises me most is the name... Palm Beach Sugar Daddy Ken?

    To me, children shouldn't know what a "sugar daddy" is, let alone play with a doll named such. Mattel representatives claim that the dog included with the Ken doll, bears the name "sugar". So of course, Ken is the dog's "daddy" and thus the name is derived. I'm a little skeptical if that was the original intent for the name or a horrible attempt at a cover-up.

  2. Here's the link to Gwen, the homeless American Girl doll: