Apparently dolls have problems too. The wildly popular American Girl line of dolls has introduced a new girl doll named Gwen Thompson who is a homeless doll.
The American Girls are high end dolls that retail for about $100 with lots of accessories and books to buy for them, and each doll comes with a back story in order to connect and better appeal to young girls. There are the main dolls for whom lots of books and backstory is written about and then the secondary dolls who mostly exist to fill in the main “Girl of the Year” background story.
In this case Gwen Thompson is a friendless girl who goes to Chrissa’s school. Chrissa makes friends with her despite all the popular girl referring to Gwen as the “Loser Girl” and play tricks and tease here constantly. Gwen and her mom lost their home, their father leaves them and they have to live in a car until they go to live in a homeless shelter where they eventually get back on their feet.
Now, I have absolutely no problem with the idea of a homeless doll and how it might affect young kids to hear about it. Homelessness exists in the world and kids should be aware of it as does bullying and anything that teaches kids that bullying is bad is a good thing.
First, the absurdity of the homeless American Girl doll costing $95 is a little much. I mean, there is no way any little girl that could really appreciate Gwen’s plight could afford a doll like this.
And second, SHAME on Mattel (who owns American Girl) for not getting out in front on this one and seriously missing the marketing boat. This homeless doll cannot be a huge seller by any means and has garnered them some bad press. A simple thing like offering 10% of the proceeds from the sale of Gwen Thompson dolls to a woman’s shelter fund would have turned this story completely around.
Mattel, if you ever need a marketing consultant that does not have their head up their dolls posterior, use the Contact Us link above…
You can see a video of a little girl giving the doll a home here: