A lot has been going on with the brand starting way back in 1998 when Mattel took acquisition of the Pleasant Company. I wasn't around for the original PC run of dolls so I've always known the Mattel side of them. I have seen some of the PC fans post comments about Mattel ruining the brand and "cheapening out" but I usually just attributed most of that to them being afraid of change and/or living in the past. Things change and I understand that. Most things, especially businesses have to adjust to changing markets. Now I feel myself echoing some of the thoughts of some of those original PC doll collectors and I also understand some of their complaints.
So lately American Girl/Mattel has been making their products more widely available by selling certain lines like Truly Me and Wellie Wishers at Toys R Us and The Girl Of The Year line and Wellie Wishers at Kohl's. This was a positive move in my opinion, as I know from personal experience, not everyone can make it to a American Girl store easily and shipping fees can really add up for large purchases. My last small order from AG consisting of just a few socks and a shirt was over $8, a full doll can easily go over $20.
I was also happy to see that more children would be exposed to the dolls. So I didn't see hardly any drawbacks to expanding to select retailers. Next, we learned late last year right after the 2017 GOTY doll, Gabriela McBride (also the first GOTY doll of color!) was introduced that AG would be changing their box designs to make them easier to display the dolls and outfits/accessories. Right off the bat, backlash was everywhere. People claimed the new packaging made the products look cheap, ruined the clothes with tags and other security measures to keep the products in place and many also assumed the new packaging was to curb possible theft from retailers.
In my opinion the new packaging isn't my favorite from AG, but I usually just store the boxes in a closet so they don't really have much value or use to me. My main concern is removing the clothes safely. I've had many a Barbie or other fashion doll outfits get holes in them trying to remove them from the packaging. I was also hoping that Mattel would do everything they could to prevent this issue, but after seeing feedback from customers on the official AG website, it seems that the clothes are indeed being damaged while being removed. Reviews for Gabriela's pjs in the new packaging
Now that brings me to latest update that American Girl announced today on their Facebook page. Non removable underwear. Yes, there is no way to remove them, they're apart of the doll's main body. Now this announcement had me livid... ever since I was a kid I've always disliked painted on or any other kind of attached underwear on my dolls. It just always bugged me and made me think the companies were being cheap. After seeing pics of the new attached underwear and discussing them with my fellow doll collectors I decided to sign a petition on Change.org to get Mattel to possibly rethink their decision.
|Left: Old panty design Middle:New attached panties Right:New panties with a swim bottom over them|
I realize that a lot of people think that we fans are overreacting to the change but this is our hobby and it's very important to us. I think that Mattel also needs to listen more to their consumers. Selling the dolls at Toys R Us, Kohl's and other stores doesn't really change the main doll. Neither does the packaging. It's still an AG brand doll, but attached underwear? That just doesn't seem like something I'd ever expect from the AG brand that promotes creativity, play and imagination.
How can a child be imaginative when they can't choose their favorite color for their doll's undies or even remove them if they get dirty? American Girl stated on Facebook that one reason for the change was because customers complained that their children had trouble putting on the underwear or ended up losing them. I honestly think that is ridiculous. If the child does have trouble putting them on just give them some time, they'll get the hang of it! I'm sure of it. I had to learn, too, as we all did. And if a set gets lost, it's super easy to find replacement panties. Either directly from AG or through eBay, Amazon or other 18" doll companies.
I really hope Mattel will take customer feedback into consideration and either stop the change over to attached underwear or offer up the option of getting them attached or having them left separate from the doll. I think this would be the best way to go about it. What is your opinion? Do you think this a good decision on Mattel's part or do you not like this new design? What do you think of the other changes to the brand? Please share your views below in the comment section. I've also attached a link to the petition here: Petition Link
Thank you for reading and happy doll collecting!!!