Saturday, February 21, 2004

Barbie may play more diverse field

Barbie may have ditched Ken recently for Blaine the Aussie boogie-boarder, but did Mattel executives originally have an even more exotic boyfriend in mind for their star?

The toy giant originally planned to "edge up" Barbie by giving her a nonwhite boyfriend. But audiences on which the idea was tested were not ready for that, the New York Daily News reported.

"They tested the new ethnic Ken, but it bombed in the focus groups," the paper quoted an unnamed source as saying. "So they had to pull that idea, and they made (Blaine) Australian instead."

That story is pooh-poohed by Mattel, but "we do want to give Barbie a choice for a new boyfriend," company exec Russell Arons said.

This summer, fans will vote on a range of ethnically diverse new boyfriends on Barbie's Web site.

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