Hey, Mattel ...
This is a no-brainer. This is autopilot. This is cake. This is the easiest corporate decision you will ever have to make.
When you announced a nationwide search for a new home for Barbie, the ageless doll who has lived in Malibu for 41 years, you probably had no idea your mission would be this simple.
Barbie to Barberton.
End of story.
In case you haven’t heard, Mattel, this Midwestern city of 27,000, this slice of Middle America, this red, white and purple place populated by the salt of the earth, folks who work hard and hang together and are fiercely loyal to their hometown, has opened its arms to your homeless doll.
Where other than Barberton would you see 75 people showing up on a steamy Wednesday morning just to show off their Barbies?
There were Barbies, Barbies everywhere — at least 150 of them. New ones and old ones, dressed in every conceivable outfit and hairstyle. There were Barbie Jeeps and Barbie VWs. And Skippers and Midges and Kens — oh my!
One Barbie wound up sitting on a tube in Lake Anna, while a Ken posed on the seat of a Jet Ski.
Barberton’s big Barbie bash even included a real-life Ken, according to Mary Eritano, a Barberton Public Library employee who organized the event.
Eritano capped her opening remarks by noting that the city boasts “a mayor who looks just like Ken!”
The mayor in question, Bill Judge, graciously played along, posing for photos with a Ken doll, circa 1994, that happens to belong to the offspring of a certain local newspaper columnist who may or may not have previously honked off the mayor and a few thousand of his constituents.
OK, Mr. Mayor, why should Mattel choose Barberton, rather than one of the 14 cities it plans to visit on a nationwide tour that winds up Sept. 1 in Los Angeles?
“Barberton has a lot of residents who care about and love the city, who have a real passion for the city” he said, standing near Lake Anna, the 10-acre, spring-fed gem in the heart of the downtown. “You can see that with the event today.
“We have beautiful Lake Anna, a great school system, great partners like the Barberton library, and a lot of amenities and attractions for young professionals and for any family or business.”
Or any doll.
Or any company that sells millions of dolls to millions of people who live in small American towns much like this one.
The Barbie bash drew representatives from Barberton’s police and fire departments (including a big, purple firetruck), other city workers, local journalists, parents, grandparents and lots and lots of little folks proudly toting their favorite plastic playmates.
Among them was Courtney Adam, 7, who was accompanied by her sister, Ashley, 4, and their grandma, Jackie Heilman. Choosing which Barbies to bring wasn’t easy: The girls own 60 of them.
Asked to sum up their appeal, Courtney said, “I like to play with their hair and dress them and undress them and play house with them.”
Well, there you have it, Mattel. A cute little Barbertonian zeroing in on everything anyone really needs to know about the ongoing Barbie phenomenon. You should use this kid in a commercial.
Barbie needs Barberton. That poor homeless lass should be with people who love her for more than her looks, people who can see the inner beauty that has been overlooked in glitzy Malibu.
Please move Barbie to Barberton.
Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or firstname.lastname@example.org.