Barbies (And Barbies On Booze) Are Big Business


The Barbie 2-in-1 party Plane & Ship, marketed for girls ages 3 to 8, comes with martini glasses, bar stools and a disco scene, notes the Packaging Girlhood blog. The blog makes the argument that unlike the Bratz, who also have a party plane, Barbies are adults; they may drink and go clubbing, but little girls understand that these activities are for grown-ups, not children. But is pushing drinks to 3-year-olds going a step too far? Meanwhile, despite its massive recalls last year, Barbie parent company Mattel is reporting that fourth-quarter profits are up 15%, according to The New York Times. The company has huge tax benefits to thank, but people continue to buy this stuff, especially internationally. (Barbie sales are down in the United States by 12%, but up 4% globally.) And guess what? Profits in the wholesome American Girl division are down 2%!

Is a “party plane” for blonde, plastic dolls necessarily a bad thing? Didn’t your Barbies do much filthier things than have an afternoon cocktail? And why should Mattel think a play set with martini glasses is wrong, if sales are good? Check out the commercial and judge for yourself:

Barbie Shows Bratz Dollz How to Drink In Style! [Packaging Girlhood]
Tax Gains Offset Recalls at Mattel [NY Times]
Check Out Line: U.S. Girls Shun Barbie Again [Reuters]
2008 Barbie 2-in-1 Party Plane & Ship Commercial UK [YouTube]

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