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Dive Brief:

  • After introducing its 2023 Girl of the Year doll, Kavi Sharma, American Girl launched a virtual museum experience that showcases Sharma’s room, allows consumers to play games and shares more information about the doll’s character, according to a Thursday press release.
  • The virtual experience features entertainment and room tours of American Girl’s other dolls as well, and includes a gift shop where users can add products to a wish list.
  • American Girl has also created branded content around Sharma, ranging from a music video to a six-episode animated series, for its YouTube and YouTube Kids channels. The company said it was introducing other digital and social content this year to celebrate the Kavi Sharma doll debut.

Dive Insight:

American Girl’s launch of the Kavi Sharma doll is part of the brand’s efforts to reflect characters from various backgrounds. In addition to its digital efforts, the company is also rolling out a hardcover novel about the doll titled “It’s Showtime, Kavi” later this year, according to the announcement.

“As we ring in a new year, we’re excited to have Kavi Sharma take center stage in our popular Girl of the Year lineup,” Jamie Cygielman, general manager of American Girl, said in a statement. “Just like all our beloved characters, Kavi’s culturally relevant and aspirational stories help inspire kids to shine bright in their own way and be proud of who they are.”

With its virtual museum filled with pink and red furniture, books, games and a gift shop, American Girl has joined other brands in venturing into virtual experiences in hopes of connecting with consumers and possibly generating revenue. But research from Forrester suggests that there are limits to virtual experiences’ ability to convert customers. In July, the firm released a report noting that the metaverse as a concept has yet to reach its full maturity.

That same month, Forrester released another report indicating that only a fifth of U.S. adults surveyed said they are OK with using online content in virtual environments. However, 42% of respondents aged 25 or younger said they had used extended reality tools, including augmented, virtual and mixed-reality features. That figure dropped to 20% for consumers between 42 and 57 years old. 

Besides its digital museum and social media push, American Girl has also ventured into podcasting. Last May, the company announced the debut of its podcast network, starting with three original productions. The brand launched a scripted mystery series, a behind-the-scenes show about American Girl characters and a show dedicated to helping tweens manage their emotions, friendships and mental health.  


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