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Doll News 8/15/03

A Whole New FLAVA for Mattel

By John Medeiros

According to the Mattel press release: Flava, according to "Hip Hoptionary: The Dictionary of Hip Hop Terminology" by Alonzo Westbrook, means personal flavor or style. With the nationwide introduction of Flavas (pronounced FLAY-vuhz) this month, the first reality-based fashion doll brand that celebrates today's teen culture through authentic style, attitude and values, Mattel TM has created a hot hip-hop themed line that allows girls, boys and collectors to express their own personal flava.

Born in the world of music and fashion, the hip-hop movement has evolved into a cultural phenomenon and celebrates fearless self-expression through freestyle dance, hip-hop music, street sport and signature fashions. Flavas, for girls ages 8-10, is the hottest doll line to embrace this latest tween trend encouraging girls to show their inner flava to the outer world. Starting this month, girls will be introduced to a crew of six friends - four girls and two boys - all sporting their hip-hop style.

"Flavas embraces the highly-popular hip-hop trend with breakthrough concepts never seen before in the older girl toy market," said Jerry Bossick, Senior Vice President, Mattel Brands. "Flavas also represents several other firsts in the doll aisle. Just like real teens, Flavas reflects true individuality through a variety of sizes, face sculpts and styles unique to each character within the line."

Guaranteeing the Flavas crew maintains its distinct identity, each character has an individual face sculpt, ensuring that all six Flavas crew members reflect the look of real teens while differentiating each character from the other. The members of the Flavas crew are also all different heights, ranging from 10 to 111/2 inches. The dolls feature more articulation than other fashion dolls: 10 points of articulation to allow for a variety of poses and a creative way for girls to reflect more "attitude" through the dolls.

Reflecting how today's teens change their looks based on their personality and mood of the moment, Flavas will also feature multiple looks of the same character in every product wave. Each Flavas crew member will have two very different-looking dolls at launch, with different fashions, hairstyles, make-up and even eye color. As an example, one Happy D doll will showcase a sporty look, while a second will feature Happy D's street style - each with unique fashions, hair accessories, make-up and style.

Each Flavas doll features two highly detailed fashion outfits, including rub-on decals that allow girls to "DIY" (do-it yourself) their own custom Flavas looks, another form of unique self-expression.

The Flavas launch campaign includes an innovative marketing and advertising push, including a sponsorship of this summer's Christina Aguilera tour, who herself personifies the idea of fearless self-expression.

The examples I had for review include two of the guys, Liam and Tres and a beautiful black gal named Kiyoni Brown. All three have very realistic face paint and are not the ?big head? style dolls that have become so popular lately. These dolls have a very real urban teenage look.

The bodies are well articulated ands are a ball to pose. Each of the 6 characters comes in two versions with hair, face paint and costume variations. They also come with an extra outfit each and a stereo or boom box. This makes for lots of mix & match fun. The size variations of the characters make for much more realistic play scenes as well. Even the hand molds vary from one doll to another.

Each doll comes with decals so that their outfits can be even more personalized with their own flava.

There are separate denim jackets and a few other clothing items sold for the crew?.each have its own personalized artwork on the back. Very, very cool.

The artwork on the boxes is very inner city and colorful with graffiti and make nice backgrounds and backdrops for playing with and photographing the dolls.

The dolls are available now at retailers nationwide. The Flavas Street Rod and Bike Date Motorcycle sets also will be available this summer and have been seen in Toys R Us already.