American Girl app enhances interactive play for newest doll
By Kari Jensen
January 6, 2014
American Girl's latest doll has its own mobile application to address a growing population of digital native young girls.
Just like modern-day girls, American Girl's new Isabelle doll dances and consumers can learn all about her on her apps or at the American Girl desktop and mobile Web sites. American Girl is leveraging mobile to target modern youngsters who grew up using tablets and smartphones.
"American Girl recognizes that kids are digital natives and enjoy playing games both on computers and on digital devices, so we want girls to have the ability to access our content in different places," said Susan Jevens, senior public relations associate, American Girl, Middleton, WI. "Our apps are a combination of fun, repeatable game play, along with content that enhances doll play, as in the case of Scene Sounds where girls can make background music to play different stories with their American Girl dolls."
App play time
American Girl, a subsidiary of Mattel, has a line of dolls from different periods of history, which have accompanying storybooks, and doll-size and girl-size clothing and accessories.
Isabelle, one of the newest dolls, is described by American Girl as being "a talented 10-year-old who loves to dance and to design ballet costumes."
The "Isabelle Dance Studio" app is available to download for 99 cents on Apple's App Store. It was released Jan. 1.
"It is a fun, simple, re-playable dance game where you help Isabelle keep stars from touching the floor by dancing across the screen," said Ms. Jevens. "You control the dancer and see a variety of dance moves by tapping on the location of the star on screen.
"The longer you play, the more points you collect and each time you play you attempt to do better than your last play," she said.
American Girl also offers Runaway Pup, which combines reading and game play on the Innerstar University campus as part of the My American Girl doll line.
Most of its American Girl book titles are also available as ebooks.
"Ensuring our stories are available on the devices girls are migrating to is important to our company," Ms. Jevens said.
Isabelle Dance Studio app screenshot
Apps play a big role for American Girl, and the brand has 10 apps available on Apple's App store.
The toy company also has an HTML5 game, "Isabelle Fashion Studio," which allows girls to dress Isabelle, given part of her story line is her interest in fashion design.
The Play at AG section of the American Girl Web site also offers a number of games and online activities that extend the fun for girls.
Toy companies are increasingly pairing traditional toys with mobile apps and devices.
For example, Mattel’s Apptivity Central iPad app uses the built-in interactive elements of the device to let kids play with five of its different toys (see story).
"Our apps have been very popular, even more than we anticipated when we introduced our first three apps in 2011," Ms. Jevens said. "Offering apps allows us to be where girls are, and we enjoy providing girls with engaging and entertaining games they can play when they have time.
"It helps us keep girls engaged with American Girl, by providing games and digital content that expands their understanding of our characters and their stories, and enhances girls’ play with her dolls when they’re offline," she said.
Kari Jensen is staff writer on Mobile Marketer, New York