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!”