Ken: Kiss me here/Touch me there/Hanky-panky. Barbie: You can touch/You can play/If you say I'm always yours. Ken: Hit the town/Fool around/Let's go party. Barbie: Make me walk/Make me talk/Do whatever you please.
Lyrics like that are sure to give Malibu Ken a longboard. And that's what got Mattel, maker of the billion-selling Barbie line, in a twitter. "The veiled sexual content is our greatest concern," says Mattel VP Sean Fitzgerald. "This is a product that has been designed for 3- to 11-year-old girls."
Audio Clip: Aqua, "Barbie Girl"
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The song, already multiplatinum in Aqua's native Denmark and No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100, is designed for a slightly older set. Since its release August 19, it has been a hit on pop-station request lines nationwide and on the video request channel The Box, where it's No. 1.
But it's not only the depiction of Come Hither Barbie that's making Mattel blush. "In the video and on the packaging of the single," Fitzgerald says, "there is extensive use of our trademarked color, Barbie pink." Yes, Virginia, there really is a trademark on Barbie pink.
What's MCA's take on all this? "It's a fun summer song, and there is a disclaimer on the album," says Christine Wolff of MCA Records. (And unlike the single, the album, Aquarium, due September 9, isn't Barbie pink, it's Aqua blue). But the disclaimer, which calls the song "social comment" is not enough, says Fitzgerald. "Could we produce a line of Jurassic Park dolls and say 'this is not approved by Universal'? It's the same type of thing. It's a trademarked property."
So, the question boils down to: Is it trademark infringement when Barbie squeals: I'm a blonde bimbo girl/In a fantasy world/Dress me up/Hold me tight/I'm your dolly?
All we can say is: The times, they are a changin'.