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Posts Tagged ‘Barbie’

H-D Sprint Model on Varese, Italy Assembly Line

Congrats Ken!  You follow in the famous celebrity footsteps of Eddie Murphy, George Clooney, Meg Ryan, Woody Harrelson and Michael J. Fox who also turn 50 years old this year.

Factually speaking,  Ken was born March 11, 1961.  The year marks the “swingin’ sixties,” being a member of the baby boomer generation when John F. Kennedy was president, when race riots occurred throughout cities in the U.S., when the Peace Corps was established and the president advises American families to build bomb shelters as the cold war worsens when U.S.S.R. detonates a 50-megaton hydrogen bomb in the largest man-made explosion in history.  Then the U.S. broke diplomatic relations with Cuba, twenty-eight men died on Texas Tower No. 4 in the North Atlantic and by year’s end there were more than 2,000 U.S. military “advisors” in South Vietnam.

In popular culture, 1961 brought the last episode of “I Love Lucy” to air, FCC Chairman (Newton Minow) claims that television is a “vast wasteland” (déjà vu all over again!), Johnson & Johnson introduced Tylenol, Harley-Davidson introduced the Italian assembled Sprint model, FM stereo is introduced and Ken got a hawt girlfriend, Barbie.  Yeah that Ken & Barbie – Ken Carson.

H-D Barbie Collectible Ken Doll #2

It was 50 years ago when Mattel introduced Ken with his trim crew cut, stiff carriage, and vacant eyes ready to do Barbie’s bidding.  That aging Ken now has a scruffy beard, shoulder-length hair and a patch of old-growth chest hair that might make Tom Selleck proud.  It certainly looks a lot like the core targeted customer segment of H-D.

But what about the new Ken?  The new modeling paradigm of American masculinity today seems to be that of men in their 20’s who hang out in a novel sort of limbo land – sort of a hybrid state of adolescence and responsible self-reliance — many still living at home with their parents!  These so-called “men” talk about ‘Star Wars’ like it’s not a movie made for people half their age and their idea of a perfect guys-night-out is a hanging around the PlayStation 3 with your guitar “bandmates,” or a trip down to the local ‘bucks’ with college friends who have yet to complete two semesters and are perpetually looking to land that dream job…  Yeah, the twenty-something’s have the appetite for luxury, but not the cash and given the slow pace of economic recovery it may be a long while on that job.

My advice?  Mattel should consider partnering Ken up with the likes of BRP/Can-Am to promote Ken & Barbies electric-hybrid roadster sensibilities and showcase that it’s okay to be more fuel-efficient and have greener CO2 emissions on the open road.

Photos courtesy of H-D and Mattel.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog
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hd_barbieFifty years is a long time!  Even longer in the toy business, but next week is a birthday party for everyone’s favorite Harley-Davidson doll, Barbie.  She’s “more mature” these days and reflects the motorcycle company female demographics, but she is certainly not looking her age! 

The motorcycle Barbie completes the rider image with an edgy black leather and orange flame ensemble accented with silvery chain, boots, helmet and sunglasses.  You go girl!!

As you know Barbie (aka; Barbara Millicent Roberts) is a fashion doll manufactured by Mattel, Inc. But, you might not know that it was launched in March 1959 by American businesswoman Ruth Handler (1916-2002) who is credited with the creation of the doll using a German doll called Bild Lilli as her inspiration.

The command centre for the Barbie business global assault is about 10 minutes from LAX where 2,000 of Mattel’s worldwide 35,000 employees work in El Segundo. Barbie represents a little over 20% of the $6B in total sales and more of its profits.  The 10th floor of the non-descript building is known as the “Barbie floor”, or by the workers as the ‘pink floor’.

Over the past fifty years Barbie has had numerous makeovers — Malibu, Princess, Southern Belle, along with the ever popular Harley-Davidson Barbie, to name just a few. She’s traveled the world by motorcycle and played guitar in a rock band. What can’t she do?  Sure she started life as a fashion model, but Barbie has so far tackled more than 100 careers ranging from air stewardess to paleontologist, aerobics instructor to Marine Corps sergeant. One of her latest gig’s is television chef and she’s probably at home right now working on another blog post with Ken!

We’re all in this recession together and America loves a winner.  So, if a boy can make it out of the slums of Mumbai and become an Oscar winner (“SlumDogs”) then maybe, just maybe, Barbie celebrating her 50th birthday and surviving previous recessions she will give us HOPE that we can make it out of this current mess. 

Photo credit is courtesy of Mattel.

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