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18 Hottest Toys of 2011

Barbie and Ken

"Barbie is always hot," Whitfield told TheStreet, and more so now that Ken has returned to her life.

Barbie led Mattel's success in 2010 as the number one toy brand, and in 2011, according to Whitfield, "we believe Barbie is positioned well to again be a strong line at retail with publicity surrounding the return of Ken aiding in that regard."

According to Mattel propaganda, the plastic heartthrob wooed back Barbie earlier this year, exactly seven years after the iconic couple split in what was deemed the breakup of the millennium. The blonde bombshell was, according to the company, won over by Ken's showers of affection via billboards in Times Square that read "Barbie, you're the only doll for me," and on his Facebook and Twitter pages.

"Ken, who played a feature role in Toy Story 3, has been visible at retail with new products including Sweet Talking Ken and Shaving Fun Ken along with Fashionista Ken with separate packages of Ken apparel offered," Whitfield noted. "Other important characters in Barbie's life who have largely disappeared from toy shelves over the years also return, including her sisters: Stacie, Skipper and Chelsea."

New Barbie career dolls, including architect, vet, chef and skier, will appear, as well as a DVD-based line including A Perfect Christmas and Princess Charm School.

Next ... Nerf

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