Ah, the checkered history of the male pop star doll. For every success like New Kids On The Block is a Vanilla Ice languishing in the clearance isles. Well, The Bridge Direct's line of Justin Bieber dolls is a certified hit, with several waves out since 2010 plus related items such as singing microphones and even a transforming van/stage. We caught up with the toy makers at Toy Fair 2012, to see what's new in the land of Bieber Dolls.
The two big elements of The Bridge's Spring and Fall Justin Bieber offerings are Voice and Fashion -- and how they blend. The new additions to their singing doll line will use songs from the Biebs's new album, and feature specific fashions used in the music videos. Every Bieber doll in the line showcases a specific outfit that the young pop star has either worn in a video or personal appearance. Great care is taken with these clothing ensembles, with even the high-top sneakers demonstrating a high level of detail.
I think this commitment to a well-made, authentic-looking product is an important factor in the success of the line; especially when you consider that a good portion of the collectors of said dolls are adult Bieber fans. While a child might subject poor JB to the rigors of being a child's doll, the older owner wants a great doll to put on her shelf and display.
Bridge is also putting out a talking version of the Bieber doll, with around 10 different sound bites. The sound clips are strikingly casual and conversational -- sounding much more personal and immediate than just a collection of catchphrases.
How does The Bridge's Justin Bieber line measure up as celebrity dolls? The likeness is accurate but not to the point of being an "uncanny valley" hyper-detailed replica -- something necessary to appeal to such a large age range of consumers. While pop star dolls from the past like Britney Spears and Spice Girls were a little bit flimsy in design and construction, these dolls from Bridge Direct are sturdy and close to a Mattel-level in quality. What this really goes to show is that a celebrity doll doesn't have to be a hastily-put-together, fly-by-night cash grab, but stand on its own merits as just simply a great toy.
Waves of the new singing Justin Bieber dolls will hit stores in the Spring and Fall, and the talking doll will launch in the Fall.