Monday, May 29, 2006
Forget Bratz: Strawberry Shortcake Has a Berry Special Communicant Friend
If at first you don't succeed, try... to convince your market that they're wrong.
"The Bratz Communion doll, Chazz, did not meet our profit expectations this Spring," admitted Mattel spokesperson Jillian Johnson. "Our focus groups were surprisingly closed-minded on this point: they apparently thought the doll was sending a mixed message, ready to receive the Body of Christ dressed like a seven year old tart."
That statement, released last week, may have signaled the end of the communion doll experiment for Mattel, but apparently the pastry reference got one other doll manufacturer thinking. One of the wholesome doll icons of the 1970s, Strawberry Shortcake, is apparently going to have a new friend make her first communion next year.
Renee Williams, spokesperson for Playmate Inc., announced "We are berry happy and proud to add a communion doll to the Strawberry Shortcake and Friends line. She will join Strawberry, Ginger Snap, Angel Cake, and Orange Blossom in Strawberry Land to have all kinds of girl-friendly adventures." The Ironic Catholic secured an exclusive interview with Ms. Williams.
IC: First, Strawberry Shortcake has always been a wholesome kid-friendly program, all about being friends, playing nice, fruit-filled pastries are yummy, etc. But it hasn't had a religious connection before now. Why the change?
RW: We decided to be very brave and do as Strawberry would--reach out and remember that someone you don't know is a friend you haven't met yet.
IC: Excuse me, is your voice always that high?
RW: Doesn't everyone talk this way?
IC: Never mind. What's the doll's name?
RW: Strawberry's berry special friend is going to be named Honey Flatbread. This was one reason we thought we'd take a chance on this...the name has a religious and secular meaning and fits right into our "circle of pastry-addicted friends."
IC: Cute, but there are Catholics out there who argue that honey in communion bread is an abomination. Could there be backlash?
RW: Well...actually, someone did mention this in development...but the other option was Styrofoam Flatbread, and that option didn't test well.
IC: Understood. Will Honey Flatbread be part of Strawberry Land on a regular basis, or will she be supporting cast, like Rainbow Sherbet and Blueberry Muffin?
RW: Yes, she will be a berrylicious character in our Circle of Friends line. Like the others, she will have her companions: she will have her own filly friend, Pumpernickel Toast, a pet turtledove named Faith Wings, and her home will be filled with distinctive stained glass windows. Her first berry special adventure will be overcoming the fear of knowing no one in her Catechism class through everyone in Strawberry Land working together to help Honey ride Pumpernickel through the Castle of Dreams and across Punchbowl Pond to Ice Cream Island where she will make her first communion.
IC: Um, okay, but that makes no sense.
RW: Our target market is made up of berry special 4-7 year olds.
The Honey Flatbread doll is set to roll out for Christmastime 2006.
(The Strawberry Shortcake art above used with permission from Rebecca's Wonderful World of Strawberry Shortcake.)