Barbie dolls celebrates 50th anniversary and toy world dominance
When Toy company Mattel's launched Barbie Dolls half century ago, they would have never thought that this product will become a legend. Barbie Dolls, continues to be played with and collected by many children and adults alike. Barbie's full name is ‘Barbie Millicent Roberts’ and has sold more than one billion dolls.
An invention of Ruth Handler for her daughter Barbara, two Barbie Dolls are sold every second somewhere in the World.
She hits her half-century in 2009 but there is not a Grey hair, a wrinkle, a surplus inch. Her waist remains tiny, her legs long and slim. And she is still pulling in $3.3 billion a year. Barbie – or, to give her her full name, Barbara Millicent Roberts, as revealed in a series of novels in the 1960s – is no ordinary 50-year-old.
Dickson’s office is a shrine to her – behind him, his black leather jacket on the back of a chair ('Black is one of my signature colours’), the room is dominated by a gigantic red-and-gold Warhol silkscreen of Barbie. Beneath it a row of Barbies sport black boots and furry, hooded coats in luminous colours. Black-and-white Barbie portraits adorn the walls, one of them featuring her famous striped swimsuit.
Late last year, Dickson, 38, became the general manager and senior vice-president for the Barbie brand at Mattel, the world’s largest toy company. After eight years with the firm preceded by 15 years in the fashion and beauty industry (there are piles of glossy fashion books on his sleek desk) he is the latest custodian of the world’s most famous, most profitable and – frequently – most reviled toy.
That she continues to thrive in a business where longevity is rare, that three Barbie dolls are sold every second, is a tribute to the fact that this is no mere toy: there are more Barbie dolls in America than there are people.
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Town-send, Massachusetts, United States