L.O.L. Surprise! doll maker finally responds to those viral ice-water videos

By Christopher Zara

MGA Entertainment, the company that makes L.O.L Surprise! dolls, is finally responding to a rash of viral videos that swept through the internet this week demonstrating how some of its dolls change color when dipped in cold water. Some of the color changes were seen as flagrantly inappropriate, with markings resembling lingerie or underwear. The feature is not new, but it seemed to come as a shock to many parents, gaining fresh traction on Tuesday after one video posted to Facebook attracted more than 3 million views.

MGA, which has been inundated on social media by customers asking for answers, says it hears the criticism loud and clear.

“L.O.L Surprise! is a fashion-forward doll brand designed to be fun and expressive,” a spokesperson told Fast Company. “We work very hard to be a brand that listens and adapts to our fans’ requests. We acknowledge the recent feedback received and thank you for bringing it to our attention. We have implemented comprehensive corrective measures to our design and approval process while ensuring the essence of the brand is kept intact.”

The company did not specify which changes it was making or has already made, but considering this is not the first time the dolls’ markings have caused controversy, it’s likely some changes were already underway.

The water feature first went viral as early as 2019, when a Reddit user noted that cold water made her 3-year-old’s doll “look like a hooker.” The new videos that made the rounds this week were aided by the use of increasingly prevalent hashtags, such as #SaveTheChildren and #SaveOurChildren. As The New York Times reported on Wednesday, those hashtags have been used recently by conspiracy theorists who claim to be exposing evidence of global sex trafficking.

L.O.L Surprise! dolls, known for their large eyes and multilayered packaging that turns “unboxing” into an event, were named by Adobe as the hottest Christmas toy of the 2018 season. According to NPD Group, the brand generated more than $1.67 billion in sales that year.    


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