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Mattel to give Barbie's boyfriend Ken makeover in new reality series


March 24, 2011 - Melbourne

Toymaker Mattel is giving its best-selling doll Barbie's long-time beau, Ken, a makeover in a new Internet reality series where young male contestants vie to be the new face.

The eight-part series, 'Genuine Ken: The Search for the Great American Boyfriend', comes after the toymaker's recent update of Barbie, who turns 52 this year, as a fashion plate with high-style outfits.

The eight contestants in the 'Genuine Ken' series competed in an array of Bachelorette-style challenges to determine who had the ideal qualities to fill Ken's customary role as the "ultimate boyfriend for every occasion".

The redesigned Ken doll will resemble the contest winner, Kurtis Taylor, a 25-year-old former defensive lineman footballer for Iowa State, who won over the judges in the romantic gesture category.

"Mattel has tied the Genuine Ken series to Facebook and Twitter and created a lot of buzz," the Age quoted Dean DeBiase, chairman of Reboot Partners, which advises companies on growth strategies, as saying.

"The show allows it to extend its audience beyond little girls to teen girls and adults who are not playing with Barbies any more but have an emotional tie with the brand and may be collectors," he said.

The Genuine Ken series began appearing on the online video service Hulu in January.

It featured eight boy-next-door contestants who competed in contests including cooking, decorating, entertaining and surfing to win over Barbie.

While the series ended last week, an archive of the episodes remains on a website created by Mattel that includes biographies of the contestants and a link to Hulu.

ANI

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