Barbie Puts Malibu Dreamhouse on the Real Estate Market for $25 million

Barbie Malibu Dreamhouse - For Sale

It appears that coastal living may have lost some of it’s appeal for the world’s most popular doll, as Mattel’s Barbie puts her pink Malibu Dreamhouse up for sale. With superstar real-estate agent Josh Altman of Bravo TV’s ‘Million Dollar Listing‘ on board, the three storey, one bedroom, one bathroom is listed for $25,000,000 on real estate site Trulia.

But don’t fret about Barbie, she won’t be homeless for long. The announcement is the kickoff to a campaign that includes a worldwide tour to find a new dream home, and a team designers made up of Jonathan Adler, Lulu de Kwiatkowski, Celerie Kemble, and Trina Turk to provide advice and inspiration. The results will be realized in a new Dreamhouse playset that will be made available just in time for the 2013 Christmas season.

The campaign includes traditional advertising and PR, but will be take place primarily on digital media, including Trulia.com, Barbie.com, as well as social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

[photo Facebook]

USA

American Institute of Architecture Hosts Barbie Dream Home Competition

Architect Barbie - AIA Barbie Dream Home CompetitionThe winner of the AIA Architect Barbie Dream House Design Competition is the design submitted by Ting Li, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP and Maja Paklar, Assoc. AIA. The competition was put together in May by the American Institute of Architects to engage with the new ‘I Can Be… Architect Barbie’. Mattel is promoting architecture as its ‘Career of the Year’ to encourage girls to consider the field when they grow up.

The first level of the house is for entertaining while the second floor is all business with office space and a library. Barbie’s private space is on the third level while the fourth level features an awesome meditation space and exercise room and the roof features a garden and solar panels. Check out the details of the house here.

“The intent of the partnership with Mattel to promote the launch of Architect Barbie was to engage and inspire young girls to experience the world of architecture and the range of possibilities that design thinking offers,” said AIA President, Clark Manus, FAIA. “We are thrilled that this initiative was so well received by the public and congratulations to the finalists and especially the winners of the design competition, Ms. Li and Ms. Paklar. Their submissions did an excellent job of showcasing the innovative approaches that architects reflect in the design of projects of all types.”

It’s too bad that the winning design won’t actually be produced by Mattel, but a $1000 donation will be made to CHAD, a charter highs school in Philadelphia that focuses on design and architecture.

It’s Complicated. Reuniting Ken & Barbie on Social Media

Ken and Barbie on Social MediaHonestly I had no idea that these two icons had even broken up. It turns out however, that Ken Carson and Barbie Roberts (yes, they did have last names) have been an on-and-off thing one since they first met in 1961. Things were not well at the Barbie dream house apparently. In fact, in 2004 Mattel issued a press release stating that they were going to spend some time apart, and as we all know it’s not true until the press release has been issued. According to the barbieandken.com website Barbie had actually started dating an Aussie surfer named Blaine.

Welcome Back

Now in 2011, on the 50th anniversary of the debut on the Ken doll, and after a triumphant return in Toy Story 3 he’s back and he’s looking to win Barbie’s heart again, and he’s looking to do it just in time Valentine’s Day.

Mattel has created a website at barbieandken.com where visitors are asked “Should Barbie take Ken back?”. Ken hopes that enough people say ‘Yes’ and that the Love-o-meter goes all the way to the ‘Soulmate’ status. Mattel has also created new profiles for Ken on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare and are the inspiration behind a new reality series Genuine Ken, a Search for the Great American Boyfriend. Oh, by the way there is a new Sweet Talking Ken doll available in stores, with the striking look and physique which makes Justin Bieber look like the Incredible Hulk. (sorry Biebs)

The streams on the various platforms are a combination of promotion and cute interaction between the two characters. Ken leaves a tip on Foursquare as he reminisces about better times, “Barbie was a little afraid of heights, but I held her hand the entire time during our ferris wheel ride. A little kiss always helps calm the nerves.” Or we see Barbie tweet, “No better distraction for me during this whole @OfficialKen business than #NYFW. See you at the shows!”

Finding Barbie on Match.com

Observations

While the campaign is very clever there is one thing that pops out at me. First of all, who is this campaign aimed at? It certainly isn’t the young girls who would be playing with them. It seems to me that this is targeted at adult users of these social media platforms, which begins to make sense as these are the people that will be buying the dolls for their daughters, nieces or younger family members.

It turns out the dolls were already appearing in stores a week before Valentine’s Day in boxes emblazoned with the message ‘She Said Yes!’. It would have been fun to see coordinated events happening in stores on the Saturday morning prior to Valentine’s Day, providing discounts on the dolls to people who check in on Foursquare of Facebook Places. Encourage tweeting and Facebook status updates, as well as uploading and tagging photos from the events to their profiles on Facebook.

Seems, you can’t keep anything secret these days. Good luck Ken on sorting out the ‘It’s Complicated’ relationship status.

Update: It’s Valentine’s Day and Barbie did say Yes! To celebrate Ken and his Kentourage appeared at Toronto’s Union Station handing out pink roses in celebration of his new relationship status. The current campaign will run until March and there  is a plan for two more phases yet to go in 2011.