Any publicity is good, right?

Wrong. And thank goodness First Lady Michelle Obama finally came out and said something about the disgraceful move Ty, Inc (the makers of Beanie Babies) made when they produced two new dolls – “Sweet Sasha” and “Marvelous Malia” – for their TyGirlz Collection. Could it be just a coincidence that the two new dolls had the beautiful, but unique, names of the Obama girls? The First Lady issued a statement to Crain’s, “We believe it is inappropriate to use young private citizens for marketing purposes.” How about for exploitation?! Come on, Ty, did you really think the public was going to buy into the fact that, as a Ty spokeswoman said, the dolls “were not designed to look like any living person.” Yet that same spokeswoman told Crain’s that the dolls were created with the Obama daughters in mind. “Somehow there was a misunderstanding,” the spokeswoman said. Really? Or maybe not? Did Ty intentionally create this publicity gaff in order to bring attention to the company’s TyGirlz line – and the publicity stunt went sour? Or did they honestly think they were inspiring millions of girls to aspire to be the President’s daughters through the eyes of these new dolls? Publicity stunt or mistake, we’ll never know. But if you’re going to create a product that aligns your company with someone with such power and stature as the President, you’d better get it right the first time, or have a pretty good answer as to why you didn’t. Unfortunately, Ty missed on both accounts.


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