Brand of the Day: American Girl Pledges to Give up to 1,000 Dolls a Day

Holiday generosity is also good marketing

'Tis the season when brands inevitably feel charitable (not least because gestures to the disadvantaged create a halo effect) and the American Girl brand just kicked off this year's spate of giving. In partnership with the Children's Hospital Association, the Mattel-owned maker of "inspiring products for each stage of a young girl's development" has pledged to donate one doll for every one purchased to one of the 200 association-affiliated hospitals.

If it's any measure of the volume that American Girl does at this time of year, headquarters clarified that it would limit its donation to 1,000 dolls per day. Senior marketing vp Kathy Monetti said that American Girl fans have a "deep emotional connection with our brand."

It would seem so. Many of the brand's original dolls have sold for thousands on eBay. In fact, setting aside Barbie collecting and the early 1980s mania for Cabbage Patch Kids, America has seldom seen toy dolls as valuable as these. Wisconsin schoolteacher Pleasant T. Rowland created the dolls in 1986, selling the company to Mattel 12 years later for $700 million. Corporate ownership has not diminished American Girl's popularity much, judging from the numbers below.

Social Media Profile (as of 11/25/14)
Facebook Likes: 1.1 Million
Twitter Followers: 8,512
Instagram Followers: 30,700
Pinterest Followers: 17,209

The brand tends to post regularly on its social platforms, mostly innocuous things, but even without flashy posts the brand has a loyal, dedicated fan base that religiously interacts with it on these social feeds.  

Recent Advertising 

A new spot by Publicis Seattle shows that even in a fully digitized world, the emotional connection to the doll still holds up.  

Fast Facts