Sunday, February 26, 2017

*Article* American Girl's Latest Doll Won't Save the Brand or Mattel


We know Mattel (NASDAQ:MAT) is having a rough go of it after losing the Disney Frozen and Princess dolls to rival Hasbro last year, and some people believe that adding a boy character to its American Girl doll collection isn't going to help. 


Although the toymaker certainly did get tongues wagging when it announced Logan Everett, the first boy doll in the American girl series in the 30-something year history of the franchise. Mattel announced that a boy doll has been the No. 1 request it has received "for a very, very, very long time," the reception to the concept on social media has been mixed. The move is indicative of the continued drift away from the collection's roots.

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Link : Madelon

10 comments:

  1. Mattel has more competition than ever regarding clothing and accessories for 18 inch dolls. Our Generation, Etsy and web-based DIY take most of that revenue. The dolls were actually reasonably priced for the quality, but the clothing and accessories are very expensive. Now the quality on the dolls is gone, it's going to be hard to see growth; the incentive to purchase an AG doll new through American Girl is gone, people will mostly look to purchase secondhand and customize. Just my two cents.

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  2. I agree. We buy most of the outfits and accessories that Our Generation puts out. Even if you don't like the OG doll but like the outfit she is wearing, it can be cheaper to get the OG doll for the outfit than an AG outfit. Madelon

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  3. I read parts of the 2016 annual report.

    1. The line that did better that others was the Fisher-Price line...Didn't the prior AG CEO go to that division?

    2. Someone pointed out that the Senior VP for AG is a person that worked on the Barbie line.

    3. Tenney (blonde hair) = Barbie, Logan (brown hair) = Ken.??? My first Ken doll, probably from the 70's, had brown hair. The only other Ken doll that had blonde hair, at that time that I remember, was the Malibu line.

    4. TRU , Kohl's and Mattel companies all have said that this Christmas season, there were two weeks of good customer retail sale numbers. 1. Week after Thanksgiving. 2. Week before Christmas. All of them have said that they had to discount items to draw in customers, or for Mattel remain competitive with other brands. But AG says that their sales were boosted by selling their dolls in TRU and Kohl's. Did the AG dolls, take money away from the sale of other items in those stores? Meaning the customer couldn't buy as many items, because the cost of the doll took up too much of the budgeted money? If that is the case, then what benefit is it for TRU and Kohl's to have the dolls in their store. So are the changes in quality (squishy heads, cloth of body, lip color coming off, change to permanent underwear) of the dolls related to this? Are they trying to produce a doll that TRU and Kohl's can sell at a reduced price in their store?

    5. The article compared the sales of Pleasant Co. to 2016 sales of AG. When Mattel bought Pleasant Co., how many dolls did they offer for sale? Did they have the historical, GOTY, and Truly Me lines? It would be interesting if all Pleasant Co. offered was the historical line wth $300 million and Mattel increased the amount of dolls sold and hasn't increased sales. You would think that someone in Mattel would look at the numbers and make a correlation that more dolls doesn't mean more sales. Even I have noticed that companies don't make money in selling their main item, the money is made in the repeat business and sale of accessories. Mattel seems so concerned with having to sell so many dolls. If there are 2 dolls your child wants that year, then how much is left from the budget for accessories? So AG sells two items, versus perhaps 1 doll and 2 - 3 accessories. So now everyone is trying to afford dolls before the underwear change, that they won't have the money to buy accessories through AG. We'll all have to go to Wal-mart or Target to by cheaper accessories to fit in the budget. Seemed like Pleasant Co. sold the dolls and accessories, where once you had the doll, it was repeat business for outfits, accessories, books, crafts, and etc. AG's current business model seems similar to the Barbie model. Has it really worked well fort he Barbie line? If you look up people in AG corporate, you find that most work for Mattel design and AG design. The vice President of AG has worked with Barbie. In 2015's annual report they said they were going to exploit the AG Brand. They put the name on Mega Bloks, that brand sold well in 2016. There is some tablet company Mattel bought, which is supposed to have an AG tablet. Who is steering the ship and in what direction?

    6. A couple years ago, we went to New York City. In Times Square there were some young women that were wearing underwear and body paint. There were people (mainly men) that paid money to get a picture taken with these young women. Since then, when i see the dolls like Barbie with the painted on body suits, I remember those young women in New York. I don't want my daughter thinking that is ok. Now that, but in a different form, is coming to AG.

    7. I wish they used another picture for Felicity. Is that how Felicity looked in her undergarments before she was retired? On AG wiki, the retired undergarments look different, from the new ones.

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    1. I know I get very frustrated if I've paid full price for something and then it goes on sale soon afterwards. Don't even get me started on AG and shipping! Seriously, if AG would just offer consistent free shipping, I think they'd do better sales. But the shipping is ridiculous! If I'm paying $30 shipping I expect 2 day service. It took a week for us to get our last AG package. The shipping from AG is not on par with current standards.

      The transition of AG to TRU, Kohls and B&N was confusing this fall. Each store had a different policy regarding the brand. Kohls offered no coupons, neither % nor $ off. TRU allowed $ off coupons, not sure about % off. And B&N allowed % off on the WW dolls and accessories.

      I still shopped heavily at AG for Christmas, but I also shopped at TRU for WW outfits using $ off coupons, and B&N using % off coupons. And then purchased additional items at TRU and B&N, so having AG items at those stores increased other sales, at least in my case.

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  4. Thank you for the article. I have decided that it is not worth the money spent to invest in another AG doll. My next one would've been Gabriella and then Tenney. My family is put off by what has happened and is no longer interested in GOTY, Logan or Tenney. For me my disinterest stems from the discrimination and poor marketing of GOTY. But for my family to point out the injustices is enough for me to say I am done. The historical items look good and I will continue to keep my eye on accessories but no more new dolls. Sorry AG one less dollar added to fiscal sales.

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    1. Ticia, I'm so sorry. I know how much you were for Gabriela and her being the first AA GOTY.

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    2. Thanks Belle. It is hard to give up wanting to buy Gabby, but when my family noticed the displays the doll itself and how AG actually took the time to create a new 18inch boy doll with accessories and a new doll for Tenney and great accessories it was hands down disappointing for all of us. We already have TM 46 and it made sense to continue collecting GOT dolls. But to see the outcome of Gabby and her line this year is just pitiful. Supporting Melody and Addy as dolls of color make sense because their line was made with careful consideration and dedication to their periods. Plus you can see the quality in Addy'so hair and length to Melody and her clothing plus studio. But Gabby sadly has a bag with an upside down heart, cardboard dance studio and is a recycled TM 46 no freckles, tendrils or adjusted eyes. This doll could have been great. Even a wig change of longer hair...like Sonali would've made fans happy due to Sonali being retired and $300.00 on the 2ndary market. Gabby could have been great and special. I think for my family to come to this decision was really educational and says to me that anyone can see why stock in Mattel is plummeting. It is not the same company it was 10 years ago and people see that there is no desire to improve it for the better. I think I made the right choice to stop while the getting is good, or at least as good as it gets.

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    3. You are amazing, Ticia. AG can do great things when it takes the time to fully develop a character and world. I just cringed with each Gabriela downfall/shortcoming you mentioned because you are completely right. AG just really botched this opportunity.

      Have you read the Gabriela books? I haven't yet. Just wondered if the books were top AG quality where the character was well thought out, so maybe a good DIY customized doll and world for you to create as a family?

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    4. You may be right. I will probably contact my local library to see if they have them in. AG usually has a sale on GOTY books at the end of the fiscal year when they are trying to move stock. If they are good I may purchase them, but not Gabby, Logan or Tenney. I may consider her meet accessories, only if on sale since AG sent me her outfit for free. I will keep you posted.

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  5. I think that simple answer to Mattel's problem is QUALITY!!!!!! People will still buy quality real wood, metal exceptional details!!!! Sharon

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