What a difference a year makes!

This isn’t what I had originally planned on posting this week, but forces of nature were working against me. Primarily allergies. I don’t usually have problems with fall allergies, but this year has been a definite exception. My eyes are killing me, and I feel generally cruddy at the moment. When I feel cruddy I can still write, but trying to take any photos is another story! My eyes feel like they are on fire and have sand in them, and that’s even after using my allergy eye drops. Let’s just say they are as red as…Maryellen’s Christmas cookie cutters. So instead of my usual post full of photos, I decided to take this “opportunity” to write about something else I find interesting.

Has anyone else noticed the lack of information or leaks about the Girl Of The Year 2017??? I did a little bit of checking around through bleary eyes from posts by other bloggers from a year ago, and we knew quite a bit about Lea at this point. We even knew a lot about Melody who wasn’t going to be released for quite some time. And here we are, on November 11th, and we know next to nothing. There has been some speculation and a few items that people have found on Ebay that might be for a new doll, but nothing very concrete. What has changed?

I think there were enough people who, like myself, were getting tired of the leaks. I’ve often speculated about such so-called “leaks” and wondered if in fact they were done deliberately by American Girl in hopes of generating hype. If they did, it backfired on a tremendous scale. Once the initial excitement over Lea had passed, she ended up being just an average doll in respect to sales. In all honesty, I don’t think she did all that well after the first week of the year. I thought it very odd that they ran package deals and sales on her items within the first quarter of the year. It was good for me, I got her and a number of her accessories at a nice discount, and I was happy, but definitely not a great thing for the AG bottom line. I think what happened is that by the time she came out, everyone was a bit tired of the whole thing and rebelled.

Then there was Melody. Again, many items leaked from various sources at this time of year, and she wasn’t to come out until August! American Girl did do something unprecedented by releasing a promotional video of her several months before her release, putting to rest all of the hype and speculation. I was thrilled at this because it meant that everyone got to see everything at the same time. None of the “I know something you don’t”. I thought this was a brilliant marketing move, and I think it was very successful.

On the other side, there is the legal issue. If in fact the leaks we got so used to seeing weren’t done deliberately by American Girl, it means that someone was doing something illegal and unethical. We all know that the majority of items in the AG line are made in China. China is well known as a hotbed of counterfeit goods and unethical business practices. It’s long been suspected that many of the items that turned up on Ebay were either prototype items or items that didn’t pass quality control, snuck out and sold by factory workers. If this was the case, I suspect that American Girl ramped up their legal team, and these factories were threatened with cancellation of contracts. Releasing these items this way would have been a huge violation of any secrecy/confidentiality clauses in the contracts and could have resulted in massive litigation and loss of business for the factories making these items. I don’t know that I would want to mess with Mattel when it comes to something like that. The makers of the original Bratz dolls found out the hard way and found themselves with product they weren’t allowed to sell for many years.

Personally, I’m happy that we aren’t getting to see all of this stuff way in advance. A perfect example of how well this has turned out is the camper that was released earlier this year. No one knew a thing about it, so it was a true surprise when it came out. And sales were very good on it, causing it to go on backorder several times over the summer. I know that I literally gasped when I saw it on the first day of the release and was super excited about it. I don’t know that I would have had that same level of excitement had I known about it in advance. The new clothing sold as individual pieces was another fantastic surprise. Since that release, we’ve had a number of surprises. Unlike some people, I like surprise. It takes me back to when I was a kid and we’d get the Christmas catalog in the mail. I would spend hours pouring over it, not just picking out the things I wanted, but checking out all of the new items that were now available. There is something to be said for delayed gratification, something we’ve forgotten about in our digital, instantly available world.

So what does 2017 bring? We really don’t know! Much like what our country as a whole is facing come January 1st, the doll world and especially American Girl at the moment is still a big question mark. I think it’s an exciting time, and gives us something to look forward to. So many questions and so few answers. In the words of Martha Stewart: “It’s a Good Thing!”

10 thoughts on “What a difference a year makes!

  1. I have to admit that the way they did a staggered promotional release with Melody by releasing her first book in advance, along with the big TV reveal definitely made me want to go and buy her on day 1 (which is exactly what I did) because I’d already read her first book and fallen in love with her. I thought Lea was an unholy amalgamation of Kanani and Isabelle, looks-wise, and I haven’t been tempted to bring her home (I have picked up a couple of her outfits, much like I did with Grace, although even less of Lea’s collection appeals to me). And if GOTY 2017 isn’t a doll of colour (and that 1/8th Brazilian thing was a copout, IMO), then I won’t be buying her. Of the 8 or so dolls I’ve added to my little doll family this year, I purchased Addy, Josefina,and Melody new from AG, and MG (who arrived bald), Felicity (who’d had a pincurlectomy and a haircut), Ruthie (who arrived bald), Ren (my #4 who arrived with seriously floppy limbs and nail polish) and Luanne (my 46) were all either ebay rescues, gifts from friends or a via message board sales. Currently the only dolls on my “buy new” list are Maplelea Saila, Maplelea Friend 11, Truly Me 58 (to be twins with Maplelea Friend 11) and Kaya. .

    • I agree that the 1/8 Brazilian thing was ridiculous, I don’t know why they even bothered. I wonder if that whole debacle affected her sales too. I really wasn’t planning on getting her, but then realized she’d make a great older sister to Rebecca. She will never be Lea to me, always Sophia!

      • Oh yea, she would make a great sister for Rebecca! And yea, when I look at my Ysabeau, she’s Beau, Leonie’s sister, not Isabelle.

  2. You know I hadn’t really thought about the new Girl of the Year, which is unusual for me. I actually like the idea of not finding out til January 1. Otherwise its like opening a gift early.

    • My thoughts exactly! I know I’d be majorly upset if I’d been a mom who’d planned a special day on January 1st with a trip to the AG store and because of leaked info, my child knew all about it in advance. I guess I don’t quite understand what is so wrong about having to wait?!

  3. Y’know, I really haven’t liked all the leaks and peeks. It makes looking through the catalog boring, b/c I know about it all already. I prefer the anticipation, myself. And even though the rumor is that the next GOTY is gonna be “non-white”, I’m glad she’s gonna be the last one, b/c the whole GOTY is a joke anyway. Yet another way to get people to spend more money than they otherwise would. I do like the idea that AG dolls and some other merchandise are available in “regular” stores like TRU, Costco, Kohls and B&N. I have never liked the exclusivity of these dolls. Play time should belong to everyone. However, I still don’t like the high prices, and think that having so many sales is also a joke. It should just start that way to begin with, and maybe they’d have better luck w/ their sales.

    • I actually haven’t seen any confirmation that 2017 is the end for GOTY, just a lot of rumors. I agree though that it is a bit much to expect people to spend all of that money in a years time. When GOTY started, the collections were reasonably sized without these ridiculous high priced items. Now it’s completely over the top. To expect anyone to regularly spend over $1000 on a doll, clothing and accessories every year is just not realistic at all.

      The high prices are definitely a turn off for many. I am hopeful that the reasonable pricing on the scooter I picked up at Toys R Us is the beginning of a pricing change company wide. Fingers crossed!!!

  4. I have seen a few headlines touting possible items for the 2017 GOTY, but dismissed them quickly and deleted them. I have never been a fan of the sneak peaks and leaks so many posted. As you and the others mentioned, it makes the catalog boring.

    It is a huge difference when you look aback and see Marisol’s entire collection could be purchased for less than $300. Jess was the first to have several larger items in her collection (hammock, kayak, and scooter) but even her entire collection could be purchased for less than $300. Chrissa was the first to get more expensive because of her two friends and several items of furniture, but I think it was Lanie who had the first super high priced item. Her Camper at $295 was ridiculous (at the time).

    I made it all the way to the end of 2014 pushing off Grace – she was cute, but not a 100% representative of why I would want her. i am kind of glad about last year’s leaks on Lea. If I hadn’t been certain of her name i would not have gotten Grace. I know that sounds goofy, but Lanie and Lea are members of my family from my dad’s side. It would have insulted my mother if I had gotten both of them and not Grace who is my grandmother (who made all my Barbie and baby doll and Cabbage Patch Kid clothes when I was younger) from my mother’s side.

    Surprises are awesome! I really like that anticipation when we know something new is coming. The year the Girl of the Year was announced on Oprah was cool (one of the few times I watched that show). Much more exciting than the goofy morning show releases we have now. But I think Lea’s reveal was severely hampered by all those leaks. With regards to 1/8 Brazilian…the doll actually seems to pull that off a LOT better than the book covers and movie (I haven’t seen the movie yet).

    • The first several GOTY sets were very reasonable, something I could see a kid saving up for and making a deal with a parent to pay for part of for a birthday or Christmas gift. Now it’s ridiculous. A lot of people don’t have $100 a month to spend on doll stuff, and then only having a year to complete a collection is expecting a bit much. I’ll be curious to see what happens with this over the next year. Perhaps that’s why everything is such a big secret and being kept securely under wraps?

      • Even paging through the older catalogs is an experience. More stuff in each box for less money. Remember when we got the mini grin stickers or even books with outfits? And the outfits had real shoes, not just some sort of sandal?

        Back when I got Melody there were fewer outfits in the catalog, but they were all at least 3 – 5 pieces plus panties and shoes and could be mixed with the other outfits available.

        Then too the quality of those items. Using molded resin and metal and wood.

        *sighs* The good old days of yore. 😉

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