Update: January 11, 2016 – I wrote this original post one year ago. Since then, it has continued to receive search traffic on a regular basis, from who I’m sure are very confused parents trying to shop for the new American Doll of the Year. It appears that The American Girl Doll Corporation has not taken any of my suggestions for the American Girl Doll of the Year 2016…..there’s always 2017……
It’s January, and you know what that means. Sure, it means the holidays are over, you’re busy breaking your resolutions and cursing all the stray Christmas decorations that you missed in your haul up to the attic.
But there’s something even more exciting that comes with the turn of the new year: The introduction of the new American Girl Doll of the Year 2015.
Are you on the edge of your seat wondering:
“Who will it be this year? A little white girl with long blonde hair or a little darker-white girl with long brown hair?”
“Will her hobby will be walking homeless puppies or perhaps this year she’ll branch out from ballet dancing to tap?”
Although she looks remarkably similar to all the other little white girl with long, brown hair American girl dolls, she has an unmistakable braid AND a beret. And this year, instead of breaking child labor laws in the United States she’ll be breaking them working 70 hours a week at a bakery in Paris. (Unfiltered cigarettes sold separately).
C’mon American Girl. Is that the best all your brainstorming sessions and focus groups could do? I love France and all, and heaven knows I love a good bakery, but I’m ready for you guys to shake it up a bit.
May I draw your attention to Exhibit A:
Here’s a line up of my daughter’s Barbie collection. She has decided that she has outgrown her Barbies and we recently tried to get them ready to sell by matching up the Barbies with their appropriate outfits. The problem? It’s impossible, because they’re all the same damn doll. The only one that we could come close to matching up is the teacher due to her tell-tale glasses, which clearly every teacher wears along with their skin tight baby t’s and micro miniskirts. (As you can tell, we could not locate the teacher’s skirt, but this modesty box demonstrates the actual length).
Which brings me to Exhibit B:
The girls (women?) of Monster High. By looking at them it’s clear that Monster ‘High’ is an exotic dancing school for skinny women in their late 30s. The first time my daughter brought home one of her friend’s Monster High dolls I almost put that friend on the ‘list’ (you know, the list you make of the friends who are most likely to teach your kid how to smoke and find bad pictures on the internet.)
But then they explained the storyline behind the doll and I was intrigued. Over time I have truly learned to appreciate the amount of time and effort their creators put in to developing an actual ‘character’ vs just a new outfit for the same doll. Sure, like Barbies, Monster High dolls dress like complete skanks. But unlike Barbies, you get the feeling that Monster High dolls truly do it to express themselves instead of as a sad attempt to get the wrong kind of attention from Ken (life would be hard when all your competition looks exactly like you.)
The reasons I bring this up, American Girl, is that although you do a lovely job of creating a fun back-story (and an ‘illegal in most states’ career) for your dolls, if you want to keep my 9 year old daughter’s attention much longer, you’re going to need a little more edge. You need a doll that will appeal to the girls who are selling their Barbies so that they can buy Monster High dolls.
Raven is Grace’s older sister who recently moved from Paris to New York and is currently making ends meet with a part time job tending bar at a rave club and expressing her artistic side as a tattoo artist. In her spare time she enjoys sleeping in til 1pm and blogging about her body modifications.
Imagine all the merchandising opportunities! Every girl will need to purchase “Ravens Travel Set” ($44) to reenact her long journey from Paris to New York as well as both “Grace’s Tattoo Parlor” ($500) and “Grace’s Rave Bar” ($400). And of course, no Raven doll would be complete without her extensive set of “Raven’s Body Modification” accessories. ($32) Matching Girl & Doll earlobe stretchers, anyone?
C’mon American Girl. It’s only January, if you get moving you’ll have plenty of time to scrap your brainstorming for American Girl Doll of the year 2016, Scout, and her job at an Apple Genius Bar to get moving on Raven.
And please hurry. Kanani really wants to borrow a pair of Raven’s black leather pants for a party this weekend.
Like our American Girl hair styling? Just wait to see what we do to LEGOs. Here’s a post about our efforts to get LEGO to offer short hair styles for Lego Friends.
*that’s not true.
Once upon a time, Susanne was a Senior Account Director at an advertising agency working for two of the top brands in the world. Nine years ago she traded in her corporate life for a life as a stay at home mom, raising two of the best kids in the world. She started her blog, The Dusty Parachute as a way to dust off her online advertising skills and begin her job search. Instead, she now uses it as a way to spend lots of time on the computer so her kids think that mommy has a job.
Susanne’s essays have been featured in Scary Mommy, BonBon Break and Redbook and she is also a contributor in the upcoming books, It’s Really 10 Months, Special Delivery and Martinis & Motherhood – Tales of Wonder Woe & WTF?! You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.