Friday, June 13, 2008

Character RE-design?

Great article in the New York Times (I found through John K):
"Strawberry Shortcake was having an identity crisis. The “it” doll and cartoon star of the 1980s was just not connecting with modern girls. Too candy-obsessed. Too ditzy. Too fond of wearing bloomers....She is not the only aging fictional star to get a facelift. An unusually large number of classic characters for children are being freshened up and reintroduced — on store shelves, on the Internet and on television screens — as their corporate owners try to cater to parents’ nostalgia and children’s YouTube-era sensibilities. Adding momentum is a retail sector hoping to find refuge from a rough economy in the tried and true."

UGH. The article details more atrocities on cartoon characters.

"For parents, nostalgia is considered a bigger sales hook than ever because of the increasingly violent and hyper-sexualized media landscape."

And this is the solution? Strawberry Shortcake gets a makeover? Why not make a NEW character for girls?

"At, which is rolling out a revised site over the summer, the studio will let people customize Looney Tunes characters as they see fit...You want a dark, Goth version of Tweety Bird? Have at it,” said Lisa Gregorian, executive vice president for worldwide marketing at Warner Brothers Television."

Now, that would be a sight!


Didi said...
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Peter H. Reynolds said...

Would be fun to see other versions of Ms. Shortcake from our Creative Juices community!

Bob Flynn said...

We talked about this today internally, mainly spurred by your email, Pete. Characters always come down to personal preference...I don't like the look of the new Strawberry Shortcake mainly because of how she's posed (like she's on a bed or something). Plus, I'm not the target audience---I'm not crazy about the original, either.

I also personally don't see the need to reinvent a character who folks don't think connect with contemporary tastes. Again, just my opinion. Let a character exist in its own time, and as John put it---let them retire. This feels all too motivated by money. Unlike some remakes that stay true to the concept of the original, they pretty much changed her completely. The marketers are just using the name to drive sales and publicity.

It would be indeed an interesting activity to see what other folks might come up with. But I'd rather see people design a NEW girl character that would appeal to girls.

Pokey said...

Well, it's been three years how's the "new" Strawberry Shortcake doing?:-)

[The original was "politically correct" already and then in 2008 they changed it MORE?]

Pokey, who ought to know about "bad reboots" [when through one himself on that 1985 Gumby reboot.,]
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