Kurtis Taylor, lower left, who was named the winner of the “Genuine Ken” contest, with the other competitors. Go to related article »
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The toy maker Mattel is revamping its best-selling Barbie franchise by emphasizing her longtime beau, __________.
The company is bolstering awareness of Barbie’s companion — who celebrated his __________th birthday on March 11 — using social networks like Facebook and Twitter and a series of just-completed webisodes in which wholesome-looking young male contestants vied to be the new __________, literally, of the soon-to-be redesigned boyfriend.
The eight-part series, called “Genuine Ken: The Search for the Great American Boyfriend,” was Mattel’s first _________ into digital reality events and an effort that “is on the beginning edge of a new marketing trend,” said Dean DeBiase, chairman of Reboot Partners, which advises companies on growth strategies.
Spotlighting Ken comes after the toy maker’s recent update of __________, who turns 52 this year, as a fashion plate with high-style _________. 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 __________ for every occasion.”
The redesigned Ken doll will resemble the contest winner, Kurtis Taylor, a 25-year-old former defensive lineman for Iowa State, who won over the __________ in the romantic gesture category.
…Ken, who had a breakup with Barbie in 2004 but won her back on __________ Day, began his comeback by appearing in Disney’s “Toy Story 3” last summer. The “Genuine Ken” series began appearing on Hulu in January, hosted by another fashionable __________, Whitney Port, who appeared in the popular MTV series “The Hills.”
Mattel’s Ken series featured eight boy-next-door contestants who competed in contests including cooking, decorating, entertaining and __________ to win over Barbie.
…In the episodes, the __________ and confident contestants, who also include a bartender and a singer-songwriter, make on-camera asides — both humorous and cutting — reacting to their __________. The show has an air of __________ house humor and is aimed at an over-18 audience.
“The series is aimed at grownups,” said Ms. Cota. “The Barbie brand resonates with three generations, from consumers who played with the dolls as children to those who love the brand today.”
Collectors of all things Barbie put millions of dollars into Mattel’s coffers each year. And they have an annual __________. This year it is in Fort Lauderdale in July, and it will focus on Ken.
…Meanwhile, Mattel is readying a modeling contract for Mr. Taylor. With $500 to buy gifts, he edged out his rivals when he won the romantic category by giving each judge a __________ and donating the remaining money to the Make a Wish Foundation.