The New Twilight Barbie: She Digs Vampires
[The Wall Street Journal, 12 August 2009]
By Richard Morgan
Through 50 years of Barbie, the bendable blonde has gone through thousands of styles and professions. The folks at BarbieCollector.com, a line of high-end, limited-edition dolls, often have her in the kind of frilly princess fashions that’ve become synonymous with the brand. But every now and then they break out into bolder, brasher territory. And now, timed with the release of the sequel to the teen vampire romance, is Twilight Barbie.
This is not Barbie’s first venture into the darker side of life. There’s Addams Family Barbie, Harley-Davidson Barbie, Barbie from the Hitchcock masterpiece “The Birds,” Catwoman Barbie, Medusa Barbie, and Kimora Lee Simmons Barbie. And there are certainly big pop-culture tie-ins as well: Lord of the Rings Barbie, Chicago Cubs Barbie, NASCAR Barbie (separate from Jeff Gordon Barbie or Dale Earnhardt Jr. Barbie), and the unfortunately named Grease Barbie. But these are exceptions: historically, Mattel has kept her relatively chaste, reluctant to flirt with other strong brands.
But now this isn’t just vampire Barbie; it’s Twilight Barbie. And while Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” franchise is wildly popular with young girls, they’re not the type of pretty-in-pink poppets (it’s actually a trademarked pink known as, seriously, PMS 219) who might’ve bought Elle Woods Barbie from “Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blue,” which was different, one supposes, from Elle Woods Barbie from “Legally Blonde”. And Barbie has been under pressure from the edgier Bratz line to modernize and stay relevant. So is the vampiric Twilight Barbie a kind of nail in the coffin for that bubble-gum girliness?
“Barbie has always been at the forefront of pop culture,” said Lauren Dougherty, a Mattel spokeswoman. “This is a partnership that shows that Barbie is in love with Twilight. It’s fun. It’s fan life. We’ve done Star Trek Barbie. These projects are about unique, high-detail, authentic collectibles.”
And it’s not like you couldn’t put your Twilight Barbie in her pink convertible. Oh, Barbie!
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