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Blings and flavas


Even toys are playing to a hip-hop beat, as witnessed by the introduction of Mattel's Flava dolls and HotWheels' Blings cars.

When you subscribed to the Springwise newsletter, we promised you cross-industry diversity, so here we go, moving on from sweatshop-free T-shirts to Hip Hop dolls! Toy maker Mattel is introducing Flavas, ‘the first reality-based fashion doll brand that celebrates today’s teen culture’. Listening to names like Tika, P. Bo and Happy D and sporting dreadlocks and funky outfits, these dolls are not your average sugar-coated barbies. And forget the doll house with the pink bubble bath: accessories include the Flavas Tuner Car and the Bike Date Motorcycle set. Prefer toy cars over dolls? There’s a hip-hop alternative for that, too. HotWheels introduced Blings cars, which come complete with oversized wheels, muscled bodies and loud, unabashed colors like Hummer Yellow and Pimpin’ Purple. (The name Blings comes from ‘bling bling’, which is hip-hop speak for diamonds, jewelry and other expensive stuff that will impress and intimidate your environment. As a phrase, it was recently added to the Oxford English Dictionary, yet another sign of hip-hop massification. Springwise is sure you knew this, but just in case). In HotWheels’ own words: “Cause when you’re rollin’ down the street, it’s all about the Blings, baby!”


For everyone under 25, hip-hop is no longer an important part of their music consumption, it IS music. Hip-hop sets the tone, dictating everything from the Grammy Awards to fashion to cognac sales to dolls and toy cars. In fact, if your company is one of those fashion, automotive or alcohol brands favored by performers like Lil’ Kim and 50 Cent, you may want to find out how high you rank in the American Brand Stand, which measures how often luxury brands get mentioned in Billboard Top 20 songs these days. Right now, Mercedes, Prada, Gucci and Burberry are the ones to beat. Marketing in the hip-hop age will truly never be the same. Are you ready?


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