Monday, March 16, 2009

Spin, Dora, spin!

Damn, I wish I'd taken "Under 6 Days" in the "When will Nickelodeon and Mattel cave" office pool.

As I noted last Wednesday, news was zooming through the preschoolosphere about how Dora the Explorer was scheduled for an overhaul, scrapping the elements that kids like my niece have grown to love. The response to the plan and the silhouettes of the new Dora were, well, not very well received.

And now, in a feat of PR spin only a centrifuge could love, it turns out that despite prior news reports, product announcements, etc., the new Dora is actually just an extension of the product line aimed at older kids with the silhouettes representative of a new interactive doll. Really, nobody is messing with classic Dora. Oops!


In all honesty, I don't think this was a complete reversal like Tropicana and its juice cartons or New Coke. I expect that this was probably the original plan. However, speaking as a marketing and PR person, someone really dropped the ball here in getting the message out effectively -- failing to explain that the silhouettes were those of a doll, stressing even more emphatically that classic Dora wasn't changing, etc. -- thereby running the risk of damaging a billion dollar brand. Instead they've caused an uproar and have to go out to the public to do damage control. On the other hand, their PR efforts got people talking about Dora and people like me, who really don't care about the character, to write about it and you know what they say about publicity, good or bad.

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