In their smartest marketing move in years, American Girl is bringing back their original six dolls for their 35th anniversary. The move capitalizes on the recent resurgence of ’90s fads and takes into account the fact that many of the girls who grew up with the original American Girls are now having little girls of their own.
Recently, the company has primarily focused on its “Truly Me” look-alike dolls and “Girls of the Year,” whose stories include caring for Australian wildlife, competitive surfing, and helping run a restaurant and inn — which may or may not be as interesting to young girls as witnessing the start of the Revolutionary War, living as a Swedish pioneer, or escaping from slavery.
The dolls being reintroduced are historical characters Samantha Parkington, Kirsten Larson, Molly McIntire, Felicity Merriman, Addy Walker, and Josefina Montoya. Each comes in a vintage-style box with their original outfit and accessories, and a paperback book with original cover.
Pleasant beginnings: How it all started
When the company was first born in 1986, it was known as the Pleasant Company. Samantha, Kirsten, and Molly were the original three dolls manufactured, and in the 1990s, Felicity, Addy, and Josefina were added. None of the dolls have been available in their original designs since 2013.
Jamie Cygielman, General Manager of American Girl stated:
For 35 years, American Girl has created powerful stories with smart, courageous heroines that have helped shape an entire generation of women. As we celebrate this major milestone, we’re thrilled to recognize the very first generation of American girls who grew up with these beloved, original characters and made them the phenomenon they are today.
Knowing many of these women are now moms themselves, we look forward to creating special, multi-generational experiences for families via their shared love of the brand.
American Girl’s birthday celebration
That’s not all the company is doing to celebrate. They’re having a virtual birthday party including cupcake decorating with the chef from Magnolia Bakery, Bobbie Lloyd. Additionally, they’ve released a new digital album, American Girl Get Up and Dance, and a book titled Everything I Need to Know I Learned from American Girl. Most significantly, perhaps, is the company’s gift of more than $100,000 in American Girl books to Save the Children’s U.S. Literacy program. Now that sounds like a party!
However, the company may not be taking full of advantage of the opportunity; only the dolls will be available. None of their extensive collections of clothes, accessories, or furniture are being sold at this time — arguably what made them so desirable to begin with.
Seriously, just look at Josefina’s goat.
She wasn’t the only one with a totally awesome pet. Everyone knows the best part about Felicity was her horse Penny.
But even if the accessories aren’t available, we’re glad to see American Girl returning to their roots with the revival of their historical characters. It’s a smart reminder for companies to remember the reasons for their original success and find ways to reconnect with their original audience.