Monday, April 2, 2012

Mattel Makes Bald Barbie After Viral Campaign

“Bald Barbie” is to be made by toymaker Mattel after an online campaign went viral and attracted more than 150,000 Facebook “likes”.

Mattel spokesman Alan Hilowitz confirmed that the doll would be put into production, complete with wigs, hats, scarves and additional accessories and classified as a “friend” of Barbie.

He said it would give “a traditional fashion play experience” and there would be the option to remove the wigs and head coverings.

The “bald and beautiful” campaign was started on Facebook in January by two mothers whose daughters lost their hair due to cancer treatment.

The concept was to reduce stigma for children undergoing treatment or for those afflicted by conditions such as alopecia and trichotillomania .

Campaign co-founder Jane Bingham said she never expected the campaign to gather the momentum that it did to help those with hair loss.

“We thought it would be popular with plenty of people, but we did not expect it to balloon the way it did across the world and throughout the media,” she told CBS News.

“It’s been great, we couldn’t have done it. They wouldn’t have heard us if it was just a couple of people writing to them.”

After meeting another mother in a similar situation in an online pregnancy chatroom, Rebecca Sypin, the pair came up with the idea to help young children.

Those behind the campaign said they had not tried to bully the company into action, but instead sought to highlight a condition many children suffer from.

“We are not demanding; we are not asking people to boycott,” Ms Sypin said when the idea was conceived.

“That wasn’t our goal at all. We’re just trying to raise awareness.”

Mattel said the dolls would not be sold in stores and would instead donated to hospitals and the US National Alopecia Areata Foundation.

The company said in a statement: “Through a thoughtful approach, we made the decision not to sell these dolls at retail stores, but rather get the dolls directly into the hands of children who can most benefit from the unique play experience.”

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