out Barbie, the Olsens are coming - 28th September
The slender, stylishly attired,
twin blondes touched down in Sydney on United
Airlines flight 815 at 6.10am Tuesday. Within
14 hours, their young, composed voices were on
the radio in every state bar one.
two days, they fronted a 150-strong press conference,
spoke to another 28 journalists, hung out with
200 young fans, posed for scores of photographers
and two fashion shoots. Oh, they also squeezed
in a few hours of school work. After all, they
are only 16.
2.35pm yesterday, United Airlines flight 816 whisked
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen back to their US home.
twins first stole hearts as toddlers in the sitcom
Full House. They have since built an empire worth
hundreds of millions of dollars.
executive and co-founder of their company Dualstar,
Robert Thorne, has been their agent since they
were four and oversees their videos, dolls, board
games, books, fashion, accessories, cosmetics
and calendars, which have been voraciously snapped
up by consumers. Their dolls outsell Barbie by
500 per cent in Britain, and are second only to
Barbie in the US. They go on sale here in November.
all adds up to about $US1 billion ($A1.8 billion)
in retail sales a year, and the girls' earnings
easily outstrip that of any other child celebrity.
Yet, said Mr Thorne, "we've never spent one
dime on advertising". Only new release videos
and dolls are "modestly" advertised.
and Ashley are a product, tenaciously promoted
as the mary-kateandashley brand. "The marketing
approach and the business approach is stylised
in a unique way," Mr Thorne said. "The
product is uniquely more sophisticated and the
development, design, production, creation is done
by us... The philosophy is: you make it, you publicise
the heck out of it... then cross your fingers
and hope that the customer embraces it."
Olsens say they have "total control"
over the way they are marketed. "The brand
is an extension of what we try to represent to
kids, but it's not us," they said. "We
never put anything out with our name on it that
we don't like."
media has been all too willing to lap it up. The
main press conference in Sydney had double the
turnout as the one in Britain, even though Australia
is a smaller market.
is not manipulative," Mr Thorne said. "If
we were spending millions on advertising I could
understand people thinking that we're going after
their kids but we're not."
marketing's representatives in seven countries
have generated more than 72,000 media mentions
in the past four years. "It seems that if
they breathe, there's a feature story in 20 (US)
newspapers," Mr Thorne said.
which has the exclusive rights to the fashion
line, initially opposed the idea unless the girls'
three shows were seen on free-to-air television.
But Mr Thorne said the "awareness explosion"
was very persuasive.
assaults will be launched in Mexico, France, Germany,
South Africa, Israel, Scandinavia, Japan and China.
director of Sydney's celebrity public relations
firm Markson Sparks!, Mark Markson, said the mary-kateandashley
publicity blitz began three weeks ago. "They've
just hammered it," he said.
Markson said "brands" like Bardot and
Big Brother were popular because they were "thrust
down people's throats".
moments in product placement
Great Yankee promoters
Great Aussie Promoters
- The Games People Play