NEW YORK – Apparently, Ken (search) still isn't over Barbie. (search) Almost two years after the closely watched celebrity couple split after a 43-year romance, Ken is considering a makeover in an effort to win his doll baby back.
Mattel (search) made the announcement Thursday. Russell Arons, vice president of marketing at Mattel, would say only that fans might see big changes this spring.
"A makeover may be just what Ken needs to step back into the spotlight," she said.
A makeover makes sense as a business strategy, said Chris Byrne, a New York-based independent toy consultant.
"Barbie and Ken are such an integral part of our culture and so aligned with each other, people want to see them together," he said.
In early 2004, Mattel tried to update Barbie's image by having her split with Ken and head to a California beach, where she caught the eye of Blaine, an Australian boogie boarder.
It was just a brief flirtation, though.
"Barbie and Blaine was a great PR stunt, but at the end of the day people want to see Barbie and Ken get back together," Byrne said.
Byrne noted that global sales of Barbie were down in the third quarter.
A Hollywood makeover won't hurt sales of the princesslike Barbies that 4- to 6-year-olds play with and it might help court the 8- to 11-year-olds who have turned to the more fashion-forward Bratz dolls from MGA Entertainment, he said.
This wouldn't be the first time Ken reinvented himself.
In the 1970s and '80s, he took up inline skating and boogied to disco tunes; in the '90s he focused on his careers as a businessman, baseball player, explorer and rock star.