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Harry Potter Broomstick: Bad Vibrations?
By Martha W. Kleder

Mattel is marketing a toy broomstick in its Harry Potter line that is raising eyebrows.

The Harry Potter Nimbus 2000, for sale since October of 2001, is marketed to 8—to 12-year-old children. A toy replica of the broomstick Harry Potter uses in the movie Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the Nimbus 2000 is, according to at least one mother, providing a little too much stimulation.

Quoting from the editorial review posted on the Amazon.com Web site, “Kids can now ‘fly’ a Nimbus 2000 broomstick just like member of their favorite Quidditch team.”

“The Nimbus 2000 features a grooved stick and handle for easy riding. Enhancing the excitement are the vibrating effects and magical swooping and whooshing sounds the broom makes when on. Sounds can also be activated when the switch is set in standby mode. Requires three AA batteries (included),” reviewer Larry White adds.

A check of other online toy stores shows that description to be accurate.

Sarah Rosales, Vice President of Public Relations for Mattel’s Entertainment Division said, “Our intent in creating the Nimbus 2000 Flying Broomstick was to bring the magic of the fictional ”Harry Potter“ tale to life for children. The toy was created to mimic the effect of flying and uses batteries to produce swooshing sound effects.”

“At Mattel, the well-being of children is always our top priority.”

Rosales added that Mattel “does not consider the toy inappropriate” adding that they “apologize that some parents may consider it to be [inappropriate], but that was not the company’s intention.”

Customer reviews of the toy are mixed. A reviewer identified as “A toy enthusiast from New Jersey” described her shock when she purchased the toy for her daughter last Christmas.

“It wasn’t until after she opened her gift and started playing with it that I realized that the toy may offer a more than sensational experience. The broomstick has cute sound effects and ***VIBRATES*** when they put it between their legs to fly,” she wrote on December 26, 2001.

“Come on — what were the creators of this toy thinking? She’ll keep playing with the Nimbus 2000, but with the batteries removed,” she added.

Other reviewers were apparently not as quick on the uptake. “Ashley” from Texas is one who found nothing unusual with the toy.

“My 12-year-old daughter is a big Harry Potter fan, and loved the part with the Nimbus 2000, so I decided to buy her this toy,” Ashley wrote on June 11, 2002. “Even my daughter’s friends enjoy playing with this fun toy. I was surprised at how long they can just sit in her room and play with this magic broomstick!!”

Other reviewers seemed to be simply clueless. “Poola13” from Ohio noted how popular the toy was with his/her 12-year-old daughter and her friends. Poola13 added in the June 11, 2002, review that, “they play for hours in her bedroom with this great toy. They really seem to like the special effects it offers (the sound effects and vibrating). My oldest daughter (17) really likes it too!”

Now, given the growing attention this toy is receiving on various Internet message boards, that last message is likely a tongue-in-cheek posting, however the first question remains true, “What WERE the creators of this toy thinking?”

Calls to Mattel were not returned by press time.

Mattel contact info: http://www.mattel.com/contact_us/default.asp

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