/// 26 August 2009 ///
Click to watch the video
Yeah - do "the Barbie®"

Well, apparently the Barbie® Fashionistas dolls will be available everywhere after all. In fact, three of them are starring in a new music video created by Mattel, using their upgraded poseability to perform a special dance called "The Barbie" choreographed by JaQuel Knight.

You can read the press release here, and watch the video on Youtube.

You can also learn to do the dance here. It's a wee bit more complicated than the Macarena, although the video sure does resemble it. Unfortunately, the choreography doesn't incorporate the existing "Barbie dance" (you know - that karate-chop thing Barbie and the Rockers™ did with their arms). It would be interesting to see five-year-old girls trying to do that squiggly thing with their legs, though.

So, what song is the dance done to? Why, "Barbie Girl", of course!

"Barbie® Girl" is being used in a commercial for Barbie dolls.
And Otter Pops are now being
served on the River Styx.

That's right - the song Mattel infamously spent five years trying [unsuccessfully] to litigate out of existence (taking it all the way to the Supreme Court) because it "tarnished" the reputation of the Barbie trademark is now being used in a commercial to promote the dolls. (I bet the song's writers, Claus Norreen and Søren Nystrøm Rasted, will literally be laughing all the way to the bank when they cash those royalty checks. )

Of course, the lyrics have been changed. Barbie's no longer a "blond bimbo girl"; there's no more "kiss me here / touch me there" hanky panky and the dance in no way involves begging on your knees at the request of your suitor - who's apparently also no longer allowed to undress you wherever he wants to. Of course, anybody who's ever heard the song (which is...everybody, pretty much) will vividly remember the original lyrics every time they hear this "new" version. Directly tying your product to a song which flat-out describes it as a "bimbo" is an interesting way of promoting a children's toy to the people doing the buying (namely, their parents).

This isn't the first time the no-no song's title has been invoked by the Big M. It was used in a fabric print on a carded outfit in the mid-2000's, and more recently as the name of an ill-fated MP3 player/fashion doll hybrid product. However, I think this is the first time Mattel will have to pay a royalty to the song's creators.

Incidentally, the trend of ignoring what's been done previously for the sake of promoting what's new continues with the press release for the dance, which states that this is "Barbie's first music video". That's not true; there was a computer-animated music video for the song "Think Pink" from the Beyond Pink™ album in 1998, which you can watch here.

Sure, it's mostly made up of clips from existing Barbie commercials, but it was still referred to as a music video when the Beyond Pink dolls and CD were being promoted. More importantly, it serves as a counterpoint to the new video - one where girl empowerment is the central theme, not a concept shoehorned into a parody song that was originally about a self-professed floozy who'll show you a good time as long as you tell her you love her.

Doll Diary 26 August 2009