It’s news that might at first glance seem to be another sign of the economic times. On Feb. 6, Mattel announced Barbie is selling her Malibu Dreamhouse. The doll is asking for a red-hot market price of $25 million for her pretty pink palace.
So is Barbie downsizing, just another victim of the poor economy and a real-estate bubble as fragile as the soap bubbles of childhood play? Will she be left homeless, without a closet to store all her fabulous outfits, and stripped of all her material possessions?
Fans need not worry about the Barbie’s future. All is well for the high-profile personality; she’s just looking for a change of scenery. With the help of Josh Altman, a real-estate agent who works with celebrities, Barbie is selling Dreamhouse as part of Mattel’s marketing campaign.
Mattel is sending Barbie on a global search for a new dream home.
“It wasn’t an easy decision for Barbie to put her Dreamhouse on the market, but this move marks an unprecedented opportunity for her fans to get an inside look at her dreamy home,” said Lori Pantel, vice president, global marketing for Barbie in a prepared statement. “As the brand continues to evolve, we are focused on creating new experiences that allow girls to step into Barbie’s world in ways they never thought possible – igniting their imaginations and encouraging them to dream even bigger.”
For 41 years, the Malibu Dreamhouse has been a “wish list” item for children who owned a Barbie doll. It was a sign that their doll, and by extension they, had “made it.” One of the most recognizable of Barbie’s many possessions, each version of the Malibu Dreamhouse has been designed to reflect the era in which it was built.
The 2012 three-story pink palace was the latest in beachfront property, complete with the house’s pulley-system elevator – what one might call a Mattelevator.
See the slideshow to see how the changes in the Barbie Dreamhouse through the years.
But now Mattel is discontinuing the Dreamhouse, and its global campaign will have Barbie seek out new digs through a variety of strategies, including real-world experiences, online experiences and retail opportunities. Mattel will then reveal her new dream house in the fall, ready for her to move into her new digs in time for the holiday shopping season.
As part of the campaign Altman, a real-world real estate personality who appears on Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing,” has listed the Barbie Malibu Dreamhouse on Trulia for the above-mentioned $25 million. The listing describes the home as the “ultimate bachelorette compound,” an 8,500 square foot, three-story, one-bedroom, one-bathroom mansion with a “pinktastic” interior. According to the listing, the Dreamhouse is the “only house in Malibu with a truly unobstructed view of the ocean unobstructed views of the ocean.”
That might seem like dreamy, real-estate language. After all, the Dreamhouse only has three walls, which pretty much guarantees a great view. To be fair, however, that fact also is disclosed in the listing. The address, however, remains unlisted as befitting Altman’s high-profile client.
So what does the buyer who aspires to be a “Barbie girl” and live in "Barbie world" get for that amount of money? (And can one pay in Monopoly money?) All the above, plus appliances, the Mattelevator and “doll-licious plastic food that never spoils.”
And what might Barbie’s next dream house look like? To help Barbie discover her new design style, Mattel has turned to designers Lulu de Kwiatkowski, Celerie Kemble and Trina Turk to help Barbie plan her new home.
But fans will get to influence her taste as well. They will have the chance to participate in such decisions as the location of Barbie’s next home and features based on contemporary trends.
Barbie will open the doors to her new dream house with the “Barbie – The Dreamhouse Experience.” It will debut in March in Florida and Berlin, Germany. The interactive installation is inspired by the Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse web series that allows fans to look inside Barbie’s palace.