December 27th, 2008

"Marketing is Hard..."

I was reading the paper yesterday, which I prefer to do with an actual paper in front of me. I read differently when the pages are spread out on the kitchen island or propped up against a cookie tin or held wide between me and the rest of the room. I read more articles, at least in part, than I do when it’s a question of clicking on the various links. I’m a browser, not a person who likes browsers, I guess.

Anyway, because I was browsing through the paper, I read an article that really pissed me off. Because everyone should also be annoyed, I attempted to find the link, but it doesn't exist, so maybe the whole thing is in my head. To summarize: Barbie sales are dropping, so clearly the solution is to make her more about fashion, to pitch her toward slightly older girls so the little girls want what the big girls have, and to unify her logo and color scheme. Argh. Toys and marketing together make me want to vomit or shake someone in a suit. Maybe vomit on someone in a suit. That would work.

I have nothing new to add to the debate about Barbie and her appropriateness for children. I agree with her statement: Math is hard. T.R. totally understood the purpose of Barbie as a toddler, in that he took off all her clothes, played with her for five minutes, and discarded her forever. Barbie is not a problem in our house.

But marketing, I hate marketing. I want enough things without being told to want more. My brain is already full of voices telling me what I should do. I’m pretty sure that a voice that wants me to buy more and more things is not speaking in my best interest. And I, despite some evidence to the contrary (God bless Opal, who says we can build a clubhouse in my backyard and when we go in there, no grown-ups can come…), I am an adult.

The good news: Barbie still comes in a box and as long as boxes exist, toy marketers will have an uphill battle for the attention of children.