Girls got a chance to play out the fantasy of living in another country, and another time, in a recent promotion involving a girls doll and book line and Target Stores.
The promotion took the form of a dance performance at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, which was sponsored by Target. The doll and book line, Girlhood Journeys, was conceived and developed by independent toy promoter Renée Posner.
Target events coordinator Robin Brunkow describes the Girlhood Journeys dance performance as exactly the kind of event they’re looking to support. ‘At Target, we’re striving to be the education company,’ she says. ‘We like to be involved in events that are fun, artistic, creative and promote literacy. The Girlhood Journeys performance meets all these criteria. As opportunities are presented, we will consider using this event in the future.’
One of several performances for kids during the two-day celebration of reading held at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the 20-minute show featured dancers depicting the doll characters.
The four authentically costumed, 14-inch Girlhood Journeys dolls, which represent girls from different countries and periods in history, include: Juliet, England 1339; Kai, Africa 1440; Marie, France 1775 and Shannon, San Francisco 1880. The dolls are manufactured and distributed by Ertl Collectibles. The books, described as historical adventure fiction for girls, are published by Aladdin Paperbacks, the children’s publishing division of Simon & Schuster.
The Girlhood Journeys doll/book line, aimed at girls age seven to 11, launched last year at the American International Toy Fair. Target, JCPenney, Coles and Toys ‘R’ Us will roll out the line in their stores this fall. A new character, Isabella, Peru 1820, will be unveiled in spring 1998.
According to Posner, the book/doll concept was designed to bring history to life. ‘The beauty of this is that there are so many countries and so many different ways of approaching cultures and lifestyles,’ she says. ‘Girls can really feel like they’ve traveled someplace through these stories.’
Posner adds that the Girlhood Journeys line attempts to address an underserved niche. ‘In a market where 80 percent of the top toys are aimed at boys, I saw a niche for a product line that would appeal to girls while providing an alternative in the growing book/doll category.’
The Girlhood Journeys event wasn’t the first time Posner has developed toy promotions with Target. While working as vice president of marketing for Commonwealth Toy, Posner was involved with the launch of Velveteen Rabbit for Target Stores and Target’s Gingham Dog and Calico Cat.